You suffered significant injury as a result of a doctor's carelessness.

You believe your doctor violated the basic standards of medical care causing you harm.

Your matter happened here in New York and you heard that if you decide to bring a lawsuit and hire an attorney to represent you, the attorney will receive a percentage of what ever compensation you are able to obtain for your injuries.

Rather than giving up a portion of the amount of money you might recover, you decide to handle your medical malpractice matter on your own. Can you do that?

Of course you can. It's known as being “pro-se.”

It means that you're on your own and doing it yourself.

Is that a smart move?

  • It might be if you have many years of experience handling these types of cases.
  • It might be if you have many years of experience negotiating with the insurance companies.
  • It might be if you know all the legal requirements to actually begin your case as well as how you actually go about delivering those documents to the people you have sued.

It might be a smart move if you know how to comply with all the court's rules and procedures for medical malpractice cases in New York. You should know that they are different than in an accident case.

It might be a smart move if you know what the legal requirements are in order to proceed forward with a valid medical malpractice case.

It might also be a smart move if you know how much time you have within which to start your lawsuit. Keep in mind there are very significant and very different time limits between bringing a lawsuit against a private doctor or private hospital in New York compared to a physician or healthcare provider in a municipal or state hospital.

It might also be a good move to handle this on your own if you know how to prepare all the documents necessary to start your lawsuit as well as how to respond to the answers that you receive from the attorneys representing the doctors.

You will need to know how to prepare a complaint which asserts all the allegations you are making.

You will need to know how to take care of affirmative defenses raised by the defense attorneys. You need to know when you can file a notice of medical malpractice with the court.

It's critical that you also know how to respond to the defendant's discovery requests and which ones need to be objected to.

When you are scheduled to question the doctors that are involved in your care, did you know that before you simply show up with your video camera, you must give notice to the other side of your intention to videotape the deposition as well as hire a court reporter, also known as a stenographer?

Did you know that in New York before you are permitted to file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf, you must get confirmation from a medical expert who confirms that... 

(1) There were violations from the basic standards of medical care,

(2) Those departures from good care were substantial factors in causing you harm and

(3) You suffered significant injury.

These are only some of the things that you will need to know if you choose to handle your matter on your own.

Unlike an accident case, medical malpractice cases tend to be much more challenging. If you are unfamiliar with the procedural steps and the legal issues surrounding this type of case, it is likely in your best interests to rely on a professional who handles these cases on a daily basis.

How many injured victims do this on their own?

The question I posed in the headline “how many do it on their own?” Is one that I do not have a specific answer to.

However, I can tell you anecdotally that when I get calls from potential clients who call asking me questions about what to do procedurally, they have spoken to many attorneys and none of them want to handle their case. What these callers fail to recognize that there is a specific reason why no one is willing to take on their case.

 By the way, when someone calls to ask how they do something procedurally, I cannot give them any legal advice.

Why not?

Because there is no attorney-client relationship. Since I have not accepted them as a client, I am not permitted to give them any legal advice whatsoever.

Typically when an injured victim tries to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney New York, if they are getting rejected from one attorney after the next on the telephone, it likely means that the case is not attractive to the attorney. It could be that the attorney immediately recognizes that there is no liability or that proving liability will be a significant challenge.

It might be that the attorney on the phone recognizes that there might be a disconnect between the wrongdoing and the injury that you suffered.

On the other hand, the damages and ultimate harms that you suffered may not be significant enough for an attorney to justify taking on your matter.

In my experience, the only reason an injured victim tries to handle their own case is because they can't find an attorney willing to take on their case.

You know already that there are many lawyers in New York who handle accident cases and many who handle medical malpractice cases.

Your goal as an injured victim is to become an educated consumer before you ever pick up the phone to call an attorney.

You want to become as educated as possible about how these types of cases work.

The reality is that if no attorneys are willing to look into your matter, there could be an underlying reason why.

However, no one will be able to tell you that definitively until a full and thorough investigation has been done and your medical records have been reviewed and evaluated by a qualified medical expert.

However, if all the attorneys you have spoken to will not even meet with you based upon your brief phone conversation, then there is a more significant underlying problem with the facts.

Can you handle your case on your own? Yes, of course you can.

Is it a wise thing to do if you have no experience handling this specific type of case? In my professional opinion, after handling these cases for more than 26 years, the answer is a definite no.

To learn what happens when an injured victim forgets something at trial, I invite you watch the video below...


Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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