She called me late Friday afternoon.

She told me she had a definite medical malpractice case. She told me that her doctor failed to diagnose a very significant problem. She told me she had a guaranteed winner of a case.

What she neglected to mention was that her time limit to file a lawsuit was running out on Wednesday. This was now late Friday afternoon.


What made this phone call interesting is that no matter what I said, this woman was demanding and insistent that I file a lawsuit on her behalf before Wednesday. She “knew” that she had a great case and that it was guaranteed to get her compensation.

I told her very quickly that I could not help her.

“What do you mean you can't help me? I have seen your videos, I've read your blogs, I have read your articles, I want you to help me with my medical malpractice matter!”

Again, I apologized and told her I could not help her and then told her why.

Before I am permitted to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice on her behalf, I must do a full, complete and thorough investigation determine whether: (1) there was wrongdoing, (2) the wrongdoing caused injury and (3) the injury is significant and/or permanent. All those things must be confirmed by a medical expert who has reviewed all of your records.

She did not understand that.

She thought it was like a car accident case where I could simply prepare the lawsuit papers and have it filed the same day.

I told her that in a medical malpractice case in New York, we must have confirmation by a qualified medical expert before we are permitted to file a lawsuit.

I explained that I must get copies of all her medical records going back many years. That takes months to get.

I then must go through each and every medical record to determine what exactly was done on each and every visit. Only after I have gathered all of her medical records can I then send it out to a qualified medical expert for review and evaluation.

The medical expert, assuming he is available, will take a considerable amount of time to review the records and then get back to me with his opinions and conclusions.

When evaluating a medical malpractice case, it can take 3-6 months just to do a complete investigation and determine whether there is a valid basis to proceed forward. This woman however who was calling on Friday evening, had only until Wednesday to file a lawsuit.

I told her that under no circumstances would I be able to help her since I knew at the outset that there was no way to gather all of her records within that time and send it out to medical experts for review and if positive, prepare the papers necessary to start her lawsuit.

She was still insistent. She was demanding. She did not accept my explanation.

Finally, I reminded her that I simply could not help her. When I asked her why she waited so long before consulting an attorney, she gave me excuses. I felt bad for her but there was no way that I could help her from a legal standpoint.

What's the bottom line?

The moral of the story is don't wait until the last minute to file a lawsuit on your behalf. If you feel you have a basis to proceed forward with a possible medical malpractice matter, it is in your best interests to have an experienced trial attorney begin to investigate your matter as soon as possible. You never want to be in the situation like this woman was in where your time is running out and you have no other alternatives.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer