You have been going to your doctor for years.
You like your doctor.
You trust your doctor.
However, one day the doctor caused you severe injury.
You believe the doctor intentionally cause you harm.
This was not a medical error.
This was not a medical mistake.
This was not an accident.
You are in the hospital recuperating and you want to sue your doctor for violating the basic standards of medical care.
You should know that there is a very big difference between a doctor who intentionally causes a patient harm compared to a doctor who makes a medical error.
From your standpoint, the injury is the same.
You now have to recuperate and get any additional medical or sugical treatment necessary in order to fix your problem, assuming of course it can be fixed. This also assumes that you're still alive after suffering your injury.
As you contact one attorney after the other you begin to notice a pattern.
Not one single attorney is willing to look into or take on your possible medical malpractice matter.
Not one attorney is ready or willing to invest their time, energy and resources to investigate and prosecute your matter.
You don't understand why.
Every attorney tells you the same thing.
It makes no sense.
Let me share with you the key reason why it will be challenging for you to find an attorney who is willing to take on such a case.
Every doctor in New York is required to have professional liability insurance.
This is commonly known in the legal industry as having medical malpractice insurance coverage.
It's similar to every driver in New York who drives a car is required to have automobile insurance.
The theory behind that is if someone gets into a car accident, there is money available in which to pay compensation for an injured victims' injuries and damages.
The same concept applies to doctors.
If a patient suffers injury while under their care and the patient sues the doctor successfully, now there is an amount of money that may be available to that injured patient to compensate her for injuries caused by the doctor.
In New York, the basic minimum policy of insurance that doctors are required to have is $1.3 million per occurrence.
You should know that just because a doctor carries that amount of medical malpractice insurance does not mean that if you get injured by your doctor that his insurance company automatically hands over $1.3 million.
In fact, the doctor's insurance company and their attorneys fight tooth and nail to limit the amount of money they are required to pay in these types of lawsuits.
The insurance companies hire the best defense attorneys with the most trial experience to represent them and they are certainly worthy adversaries.
If a patient believes that their doctor violated the basic standards of medical care and caused you harm, we will often allege that the doctor was careless or negligent in treating you.
Often, these claims involve something the doctor did incorrectly or failed to do.
Those types of claims of professional negligence or professional carelessness are covered by the doctor's insurance policy.
However, if the claim involves a doctor who intentionally caused you harm, every insurance policy has a paragraph in there saying that they do not cover claims of intentional acts.
What that really means is that there will likely be no available insurance for the doctor if you claim that the harm was intentional.
Never mind the fact that intentional harm will likely rise to the level of criminal activity and would subject the doctor to criminal charges.
When a plaintiff's attorney who represents injured victims knows at the outset that there will be no insurance coverage available, that means that even if they take the case and get a jury verdict in their favor and enter a judgment in their favor, they will be no available insurance in which to collect that money.
That is known as a pyrrhic victory.
It does no good for an attorney to obtain a victory on paper and yet not be able to provide any compensation for you.
Nor does it do any good for all of the attorney's time, energy and resources he has spent to prosecute your case as he will never receive a fee or get reimbursed for all of his expenses that he paid to obtain your verdict and judgment.
The bottom line is that there is nothing in it for the attorney.
Keep in mind though that there are some attorneys who will gladly take on a case like this for a different reason.
If an attorney knows that there is no available insurance coverage, but the story is juicy and there is a newsworthy element to what happened to you and what the doctor did, I have seen lawyers take on such a case solely for the purposes of generating press coverage.
The press coverage is often designed with two purposes in mind.
The first is to generate publicity surrounding what happened.
That publicity can often put significant pressure upon governing bodies who oversee medical care and treatment to try and ensure that these types of things are tracked and possibly prevented.
For example, if the doctor had a prior history of committing intentional acts causing harm, then the attorney might question why the New York City Department of Health did not revoke the doctor's license earlier.
The second reason why an attorney would want to generate press coverage would be to generate publicity for himself and his law firm. That can, often times, generate additional cases without any advertising.
The news media can turn this story into a feeding frenzy which ultimately can benefit the lawyer and his law firm simply because they have publicized an injured victims plight against an intentionally harmful doctor.