In New York, we are REQUIRED to have a medical expert confirm that you have a valid case before we are allowed to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
What happens though if our medical expert decides that you don't have a good case? Is that it? Are we done? Are you finished? Do we simply say "Thanks so much for coming in, but we can't help you?"
The answer is that 99% of the attorneys who handle these types of cases against doctors and hospitals will say just that after hiring an expert who gives them a negative review. Why?
Simple. The attorney is investing his money, his time and his resources to determine if you have a valid case. If he knows at the outset from one expert that there's no case, what do you think the chances are that if he spends money to hire a second expert, the opinions and conclusions he reaches will be any different than the first expert he hired?
If an attorney feels you might have a case, he's initially willing to invest in you and your possible case. Why? Because years from now, that invest may pay off. A smart investor will not want to keep pouring good money after bad into an investment choice if he expects that the investment is going downhill.
When our medical expert tells us that there's no way to show your doctor violated the basic standards of good medical care, we have to tell you that. Most lawyers will also send you a letter telling you that they cannot help you and advising that you try another attorney to see if they have a different opinion.
When that happens, some injured patients turn to their attorney and say "Wait a second...so what if the first expert you hired didn't like my case, take it to another. Then if he doesn't like it, take it to another..."
Seems logical, right?
Actually, that raises a problem.
How many experts can we be expected to hire, on our dime, to try and get the answer you want?
The fact is that most lawyers are not going to throw good money after bad. If I've just spent $4,000 for an expert reviewing your records and he tells me you don't have a case, can I be expected to hire another attorney and pay a few more thousand dollars getting your case reviewed again?
A few attorneys might be willing to try.
What if the second expert says "Sorry, but there's no case."
Do you think an attorney will continue to invest his law firm money into another expert knowing that two experts have already determined there's no basis for a case?
"How about getting a third expert!" you exclaim.
I can't envision an attorney hiring a third expert.
From a financial standpoint, it makes no sense.
There are some lawyers who might turn to the injured patient and say "Listen, I'm not going to continue investing my money into something that doesn't have merit. If YOU'D like to pay for the next expert, I'd be willing to find one to evaluate your case."
That's an alternative, but that means you'd be investing your own money into your own case.
Think what would happen if the new expert came back and said you had a good case.
The attorney might still reject your case, for other reasons.
He may not believe your new expert in light of the first two experts having different opinions.
He may not think he can show that you are more likely right than wrong that what you are claiming is true.
He might think that he can't show how the wrongdoing caused you harm.
Getting back to the title of this article...
How many experts can an attorney be expected to hire to evaluate your medical malpractice case?
In New York, most good law firms will only hire one expert.
Want another expert to evaluate your case? Simple. Go to another attorney and see what they say.
To learn more about this topic, I invite you to watch the quick video below...