As a leading Tampa medical malpractice attorney who has been successfully representing clients in a wide range medical negligence cases for over 20 years, one of the questions Lisa Levine often gets is, how much does it cost to pursue a medical malpractice claim?
Medical Malpractice: What Does It Really Mean?
In Florida, medical malpractice happens when a patient becomes injured through an act of negligence on the part of a hospital, doctor or other healthcare professional. The injured patient has a right to seek compensation for medical expenses and other damages caused by their injury by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In order to prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a patient must be able to prove that:
- There was a doctor/patient relationship.
- The doctor was negligent in their diagnosis and/or treatment.
- This negligence caused the injury.
- This injury caused specific damages.
Some of the damages patients can sue for include pain, suffering, present and future medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.
Winning a Medical Malpractice Case Isn’t Easy, Fast or Cheap
Getting that big settlement you deserve doesn’t come easy; it doesn’t happen quickly; and it doesn’t come cheap. The insurance companies are going to try and get away with paying you as little as possible for your injuries. Often the only way to get the compensation you have coming to you is by having an experienced medical malpractice attorney help you file a medical malpractice suit.
A medical malpractice lawsuit can take anywhere from several months to a few years to be resolved.
Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit isn’t cheap, either. The costs of preparing and mounting a medical malpractice case usually average around $20,000 to $50,000, although in complicated circumstances, this figure can rise to $100,000 and beyond.
A Breakdown of the Costs for Pursuing a Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
The expenses of pursuing a medical malpractice claim can include:
- Filing fees and other court costs
- Research, investigation and case preparation (obtaining medical records, finding potential witnesses, transportation costs, hiring investigators, etc.)
- Expert testimony (usually the biggest expense in a medical malpractice case)
- Trial exhibits and technology
Under Florida medical malpractice law, a considerable amount of work is required before a medical malpractice claim can even be filed. For example, for all medical specialties that will be named in the lawsuit, another medical expert from the same specialty must provide a written opinion that the medical professional to be sued deviated from the standard of care.
So, if you were the victim of negligence that occurred during heart surgery, you would need a written opinion from another heart surgeon stating that your surgeon acted negligently.
This step is complicated by the fact that there is often a professional “conspiracy of silence” among doctors in the same state that keeps them from rendering opinions against each other, even when there is wrongdoing.
At the law offices of Lisa Levine, we try to find doctors from the top educational and medical institutions in the United States to render an opinion for our malpractice cases. Often their initial opinion can cost $10,000 or more, and there is no guarantee that the opinion will even help the plaintiff when it is given.
Expert medical witnesses must be paid for every call and conference, as well as any time they spend looking at tests and medical record, with some hourly charges from $500 to $1,000.
Economic experts must also be consulted to be able to demonstrate to the court the costs of care for the patient in the future as well as expected economic losses from an inability to work.
We also pay the defense’s expert witnesses their hourly rate in order to know what their testimony will be – and determine how to argue against it.
From beginning to end, this adds up to hundreds of hours or more for Lisa Levine and her staff in the preparation and execution of a medical malpractice case.
How Does an Injured Person Pay for All This?
Where are you going to come up with the tens of thousands of dollars needed to win your case? You have been injured due to a botched procedure, misdiagnosis or some other kind of negligence on the part of a healthcare professional. You can’t work, you can’t pay your bills – how are you going to afford any lawyer, much less a highly qualified, nationally recognized medical malpractice lawyer like Lisa Levine?
Lisa Levine works on a contingency basis. With contingency billing, there are no up-front costs for the client. Instead, an attorney collects a percentage of the money they recover as a fee for their services. Court costs are also deducted from the final settlement as well.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the potential costs of a case far outweigh the potential compensation for the plaintiff, and it is simply does not make economic sense to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit – even though negligence did occur. This is something that should be discussed during an initial consultation.
Lisa Levine Knows the Cost of Being Injured
Tampa medical malpractice attorney Lisa Levine has successfully represented clients living in Florida and throughout the United States. Lisa has an impressive track record when it comes to winning medical malpractice and nursing home abuse cases. Among her specialties are malpractice involving Cauda Equina Syndrome. She is dedicated to seeing her clients get the justice they deserve, no matter what their financial situation after being injured.
Call the law offices of Lisa Levine today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your Florida medical malpractice case.