When one of our clients is injured by a doctor, we, as their attorneys, are required to file suit against all of the medical providers involved. Of course, some doctors feel that the suit isn’t fair and they don’t understand why they got sued. Sometimes the doctors may be right, it isn’t their fault that the patient was injured. Sometimes they are wrong, and they do have involvement in the harm our client suffered. Regardless, when we first begin a lawsuit, often, we have no choice but to bring every potential party in to the case.
The Law Requires us to Sue Everyone
Medical malpractice suits, as with every kind of lawsuit, have a statute of limitations. Essentially, what this means is that we have a limited time to file a suit on behalf of our clients. If we don’t file the suit in time, our clients will never be able to recover for their injuries. If we agree to take on a case and we miss the statute of limitations on a winnable case, the client is now going to turn around and sue us for messing up his case. We have to make sure we sue the right people and entities. If we don’t, the injured person might not be able to recover for their harm.
It Takes Time to Figure Out Who is Responsible
Most medical facilities, even when they know they or their staff have committed malpractice, are unwilling to own up to their mistakes so we can make sure we identify the responsible parties. If we write to a hospital and say, “would you please give us the information relating to how you messed up patient X’s life,” the hospital will refuse. However, once we file suit, we can go through a process called discovery. Discovery enables us to subpoena records, and ask questions, compelling the hospital to provide us with the information we need.
Once we get the records, those records help us to move forward in setting up depositions so we can speak to the different individuals involved in the case. After all, the records don’t clearly say, “oops, we gave him too much anesthesia, or didn’t properly isolate the nerve before cutting.” So we have to get the records and review them, often times reading between the lines. Then we have to take the statements of nurses and doctors who were present but might not have made entries in the records to tell us what really happened. Often times, we learn of people in the operating room or involved in the case from others we question. Setting up this series of depositions with 4 or 5 lawyers’ busy schedules proceeds slowly. Sometimes the clients come to us with just a few months to go before the two (in Pennsylvania and New Jersey) or two and a half year (in New York) statute of limitations is exhausted. This means we have to sue relatively quickly, once we are satisfied that the case is valid, in order to preserve our clients’ rights.
We Understand Getting Sued is Upsetting
Believe us. We understand that getting sued is upsetting. Most lawyers have malpractice insurance as well, and that insurance is expensive. Though we are familiar with the legal system in a way that most doctors are not, we would experience the same terrible feeling should we be sued for malpractice. But here’s the thing. We simply have no other options.
Blame the Medical Facility
If you really want to blame someone for the fact that some individual doctors get sued when they didn’t do anything wrong, don’t point your finger at the lawyers. Point it where it belongs. At the individual(s) and facilities that harmed the innocent victims. If they would simply acknowledge their mistakes and accept responsibility, we could go forward with suit against the correct entities and people.
Were You Injured by a Hospital?
Medical mistakes are a leading cause of death in the United States. If you or a loved one was injured in a hospital or medical facility, please feel free to reach out to Lowenthal & Abrams. We have over 40 years’ experience representing Pennsylvania medical malpractice victims.