Medical malpractice lawsuits happen all the time. Individuals have to file them because doctor-caused wrongful deaths and injuries are common. Other medical staff like nurses or orderlies can also cause injuries or deaths.
If you're a parent and one of your adult children is thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, they might come to you for advice. This is a big decision, and if you have a good relationship with your adult child, they may talk to you before they take any major life-changing action such as this one.
You are probably not a medical malpractice expert, but there are a few things you can tell your child that apply to virtually all these cases. Let's talk about some of the things you might mention to them right now.
They Need to Establish that the Doctor or Hospital Did Not Meet the Care Standard
If your adult child is thinking about going through with a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are some stats they should probably know. Injured patients withdraw 65% of these claims. About 27% of cases reach a settlement, while the remaining 8% go to a jury's decision.
The reason why so many patients end up dropping their claim is that they know they're not able to prove their doctor or the hospital that was taking care of them did not meet the care standard. The care standard is what the medical community expects to happen if you go to the hospital or a doctor performs a procedure on you.
The care standard might also refer to a doctor prescribing the correct medication or telling you about an experimental treatment. In any of these instances, there is what the medical community agrees is the right thing to do, and then there is deviation from that.
The point is that many lawyers win or lose lawsuits depending on whether they can prove to a jury that a doctor did or didn't meet the care standard. That can be harder than you might imagine. You may need to call on expert witnesses to say a doctor or some other medical individual acted inappropriately, and wrongful death or an injury was the result.
Your adult child might think that a doctor did not meet the care standard, but can their lawyer prove it? If they can't, your child might need to forget about the lawsuit.
They Need to Think About How Much Time This Will Take
You can also mention to your adult child that lawsuits take a great deal of time and resources. Maybe your adult child feels that since a doctor harmed them, they need to take action against them. They may not care how long that takes or how much energy they need to dedicate to the endeavor.
They should know, though, that these lawsuits can take many weeks or months in some instances. Your adult child will have to meet with their lawyer on many occasions to talk about their strategy. They might have to miss a lot of work while getting everything in order before their court appearance.
If they understand everything that the lawsuit entails, and they still want to go ahead with it, that's fine. They should just realize what they're getting into and that this will not be easy for them.
They Should Consider How Hard the Doctor Will Fight
When you sue a medical individual, whether that's a doctor, nurse, orderly, or even an entire hospital network that you think was negligent, you should realize the gravity of what you're doing. The doctor or whatever other medical entity or person you name in the lawsuit will fight as hard as they can to clear their name in many instances. Their reputation is on the line, so they may feel that they have no choice in defending themselves.
You should mention this to your adult child as well if they're thinking about bringing a lawsuit against a medical professional or entity. They cannot bring this allegation lightly and think the doctor will just roll over and pay them without any argument.
They Should Think About How Hard This Will Be on Their Family
If you agree with your adult child that they have a valid case and they should pursue it in court, they will probably be glad you are on their side to support them during this difficult time. However, you should also mention that if they go through with this plan, it's not going to be easy for their family either.
They might have kids of their own and a spouse or partner. The lawsuit will impact the entire family since it will probably become public knowledge pretty quickly.
Maybe students will ask your adult child's kids about the lawsuit at school. Their spouse or partner might have to hear about it at work. There might be some details that people will latch onto and will want to know more about as the whole process progresses.
Your adult child's family is under no obligation to talk about any of that with anyone, but they should know those questions are coming. They are certainly likely to come if you're suing a beloved family doctor and you live in a small town where that doctor has practiced for decades.
Ultimately, your adult child will choose whether or not to go through with the lawsuit, and they're the only one who can make that decision. They might feel like the doctor or whatever other medical person or entity did something so egregious that it cannot stand.
Sometimes, if someone harms us, we must hold them accountable. If your adult child decides to move forward, you should try to support them if you can.
They might lose or win, but in the end, you'd hope they will come to peace with whatever happened. Only then can they move on with their life and figure out whatever comes next for them.
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