Yes, you read that correctly.
What is the PRICE you'll pay to win your medical malpractice case?
I'm not just talking about a numerical number here.
I'm also talking about the emotional and psychological price as well.
I'm also talking about the fact that you've likely bought yourself an appeal.
Let's start with the easiest-to-calculate price...
The expenses needed to get your case TO trial as well as the expenses needed to TRY your case to verdict.
Those are real, hard, line-item costs that your attorney invests into your case in order to move it forward TO trial.
Expenses to gather your medical records.
Expenses to have a medical expert review your records to confirm you have a valid case.
Expenses to purchase an identifying number in court (we call that an index number).
Assuming you have a valid case, confirmed by a qualified medical expert, we have expenses for court stenographers when we question the doctors you have sued. There are costs to mail transcripts and to copy records for our opponents. There is a cost to deliver your lawsuit papers to the doctors you have sued. We use someone called a process server to make that happen.
There are costs to do medical research and legal research.
There's a price to to background checks on the doctors you are suing and also on you, the client. (Yes, even you.)
There's a cost to hire a social media expert to scour the social media profiles of the people you have sued, as well as you. (Yes, even you.)
There's a cost to send an attorney into court every few months to let the court know what is happening on your case.
Don't forget the attorney's time to prepare the lawsuit papers and a detailed set of documents identifying exactly what you're claiming happened and what injuries you suffered (we call that a bill of particulars). However, in these medical malpractice cases in New York and attorney does NOT bill for his time.
Instead, the ONLY way he makes any money is if you are successful in your case either by settlement or verdict.
As your case gets closer to trial, there's the expense of preparing our experts for trial. We may need new experts or experts in different specialties. The medical experts DO charge for their time. As we approach trial, there is the expense of preparing exhibits that we intend on using to help the jury understand what happened.
It might be enlarged medical records. (We call them blow-ups; 30" x 40" posterboard enlargements that we put on an easel for the jury to see). It might be for an IT guy to sit with us at trial and operate the overhead projector to display records or photographs on computer monitors. It might be for a video guy to display a videotaped deposition.
We have the cost of subpoenas that will be sent to doctors and hospitals in order to get your medical records into court. It might also be to compel one or more doctors to come into court to testify. Then of course at trial, there is the hefty expense of bringing in medical experts to testify.
Depending on what type of case this is and how many experts we need to prove our case, the pretrial expenses could range from thousands of dollars to more than one hundred thousand dollars. If your case goes all the way to verdict, again, depending on the type of case and how many different experts are needed to testify, the expenses could soar to more than $100,000.
That's just the financial side of a trial that you, the injured patient don't have to worry about in order to prosecute your case. Once we have accepted your case, we pay all those expenses with the expectation that IF you are successful in your case, our expenses get repaid to us at the end.
EMOTIONAL COST TO GO TO TRIAL
There is the emotional toll in reliving the events leading to your injury.
There will be the psychological toll of recalling all the events surrounding your injury as well as everything that happened to you afterward. You will have to describe in detail how your injuries have affected you on a daily basis as well as those activities you are no longer able to do now because of what the doctor did to you.
You will have to re-live the timeline leading up to the malpractice when you get on the witness stand at trial.
You will have to re-live these events when your attorney prepares you for being questioned and cross-examined at trial.
You will have to listen to your doctors explain to the jury what injuries you have and how it will affect you in the future.
You will have to listen to the doctors you sued tell the jury why they did nothing wrong.
You will have to walk past the doctors you sued during every break at trial.
You will see those same doctors every time you walk into and out of the courtroom, assuming they are there for the duration of trial. Many doctors are not able to be there continuously since they are often seeing patients during that time.
If you win your trial, it means that the jury has determined that yes, your doctor was careless.
It means the jury believed that his carelessness was a cause of your injury.
It also means that the jury has decided to compensate you for all the harms, losses and damages you incurred because of your negligent doctor.
Immediately after the verdict, don't be surprised when the defense attorney jumps up out of his seat, as if an ejection button were pressed, and demands the judge throw out your verdict. He's going to claim that the decision in your favor goes against the weight of the evidence.
The judge will likely hold off with any immediate decision.
Instead, he'll give the defense attorney time to gather the lengthy trial transcript and then make a formal request, on paper, to throw out your verdict. If nothing else, he'll demand that the judge reduce your verdict.
Regardless of the trial judge's post-trial decision, the defense will appeal that decision and verdict.
Let's say in this hypothetical that during the trial, the defense offered to settle and began settlement negotiations.
You listened to their offer and rejected it as being totally inadequate.
The defense now tells your attorney that because the verdict is so large and so much in excess of what they were willing to pay during the trial, you've just bought yourself an appeal.
Yes, the cost of getting a large and outrageous verdict is that the defense will almost always appeal such a verdict.
That means it will take another one to two years before you get a decision from the appellate court.
The appeals court could leave your verdict as is.
The appellate court could throw your case out.
They could reduce the amount the jury gave you.
Alternatively, they could INCREASE the amount the jury gave you.
As a final alternative, they could decide that the amount the jury gave you was inconsistent with the evidence and direct that you try your case all over again to determine how much money you are entitled to receive.
When you're deciding whether to sue your careless doctor, keep in mind these hidden costs that nobody really talks to you about.
Want to learn how you'd FEEL if a jury gave you $5 MILLION DOLLARS? Watch the video below...