When you contact a medical malpractice law firm like Lupetin and Unatin, one question you may be asking yourself is “will they take my case?”
Whether we can represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on several factors.
Is there provable medical negligence?
First and foremost, it depends on whether the doctor, nurse, or hospital violated the medical standard of care. The medical standard of care in Pennsylvania is simply whether the healthcare professional acted in a reasonably careful fashion like how other doctors or nurses would have acted in the same or similar circumstances. A violation of the standard of care is considered negligence in Pennsylvania. Without negligence, there is no case that we can handle.
When we say there is no case without negligence that is because it is the law in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania law, a prerequisite to filing a medical malpractice is receipt of a certificate of merit. Pursuant to Rule 1042.3 we must secure a letter from an appropriate licensed medical professional (i.e. a doctor or nurse in the same medical specialty as the potential defendant) stating, “that there exists a reasonable probability that the care, skill or knowledge exercised or exhibited in the treatment, practice or work that is the subject of the complaint, fell outside acceptable professional standards and that such conduct was a cause in bringing about the harm.” Without a certificate of merit, your lawsuit will inevitably be dismissed.
Did the negligence cause harm?
Second, if we review your case and determine that there was a violation of the standard of care, we next must determine whether it caused any harm damages. You have probably heard the saying, “no harm no foul,” the same applies to medical malpractice lawsuits.
If there was negligence but no real injury, then there is no case to prosecute. This is because the law in Pennsylvania requires proof that the alleged medical negligence caused actual harm. If there is no causation of harm in your case, then we cannot handle your case because by law we cannot prosecute your malpractice claim.
Are there significant injuries?
Third, there must be significant injuries or a death for us to handle your lawsuit. The reason we require significant damages is because medical malpractice cases are extremely difficult to win, extremely time intensive for our lawyers to prosecute, and extremely expensive for us to work up properly. Furthermore, the last thing that our firm wishes to do is take you through years of litigation only to bring about a settlement offer or a jury verdict that, after reimbursement of attorney fees and costs, leaves you with little to no money.
The exception to the rule of catastrophic damages or death as our threshold criteria for handling your case is if the fault at issue in the case is clear cut and indefensible (e.g., the doctor operates on the wrong part of your body). In practice, most medical malpractice lawsuits an argument can (and will) be made by the defendant doctor, nurse, or hospital that, in fact, they were not negligent and/or their actions did not cause any harm. But sometimes medical malpractice occurs that is so obvious that it is indefensible. In such cases, the work necessary to prove the case and money needed to work the case up are not as significant as is typically the case. Therefore, in clear-cut medical malpractice matters we are sometimes able to handle matters that have legitimate but not catastrophic injuries.
Are we the right firm for your case?
Fourth, you the client, play a significant role in whether we choose to handle your case. Our firm is dedicated to helping people in need who have turned to the civil justice system for the right reasons. We do not handle frivolous cases and we do not work with people who are motivated solely for the gain of money alone. Of course, money is a significant part of the lawsuits we undertake, but the purpose of the money is to improve our clients’ lot in life. But the civil justice system is not a lottery, and we will not represent people looking to game the system. The purpose of the money is to provide lost income, future medical care needs, and make up for what has been taken in the way of pain, suffering, humiliation and the ability to enjoy your life as you did before the injury. Sometimes the money serves as a symbol that the wrongdoer was held accountable, and justice was served. We are honored to help people who are seeking accountability, but we are not interested in people who are trying to exact vengeance or carry out a vendetta.
We also only work with people who appreciate what we do and trust us. If we foresee a problematic relationship with you, we will decline to handle your case and recommend another good firm who may serve as a better fit.
At Lupetin & Unatin, we take our job of representing those injured by medical malpractice seriously. We focus our practice on those cases where we feel we can make a real difference for really deserving people. We appreciate the people we work for. Even if we decide not to handle your case, we will do our best to explain the reasons why and, if appropriate, refer you to another firm who may be able to help.