Medical Malpractice Lawsuits: Points To Ponder

Filing a medical malpractice civil suit is not something anyone should do lightly. You need to consider a number of important points, before undertaking this type of legal action. The following article examines some of the key issues to consider, if you believe that you have a viable case against a medical practitioner.

Proving Negligence

A critical aspect of medical malpractice law is proving that the practitioner was negligent in some way and that the negligence harmed you. That is, you need to show that the healthcare provider did not give a standard of care that you could have expected from a competent doctor and that the negligence was directly responsible for your injuries. You cannot win a malpractice case just by proving that you had a bad outcome. You must convince a judge or jury that negligence was involved or your case will not succeed. 


In some states, you are not allowed to file a malpractice lawsuit until the facts of the case have been reviewed by a panel of medical experts. For example, in Louisiana, the panel will typically be made up of three doctors who practice in the same medical field as the physician accused of malpractice. After reviewing the case, this panel will render a decision on whether they feel the case is strong or weak. The panel does not render a final verdict in most states, however. The plaintiff will usually still file their suit after the panel has reached its judgment.

Amount of Damages

Another key issue to consider is whether the amount of damages you are seeking is sufficient to compensate for the expenses involved in pursuing your case. Malpractice suits are expensive to litigate, because you almost always need to hire various experts to testify on your behalf. If your damages, such as medical bills and lost income, are large, you are usually justified in seeking compensation through a civil suit, but if the damages are small, the case might not be worth litigating.

Time of Filing

Most states have a statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice suits that is separate from the time limit for filing other types of personal injury suits. These filing restrictions can be very complex, so it's important to be aware of them when deciding whether to file.

Medical malpractice is a complicated area of the law and you will need expert help to determine if you should pursue your claim. To learn more, consult a medical malpractice lawyer.