Following through with a malpractice suit is one of the most difficult and heart wrenching decisions a person can make, but once you’ve finally made the decision to go ahead with your case, the process can be time consuming, emotionally draining and just plain frustrating. Even if you have a fairly expedited proceeding, it can take months or even years for the entire case to work its way through the court system. Here are a few things you can expect when you decide to follow through with your malpractice suit.
Perhaps the biggest toll on someone who has decided to follow through with a malpractice suit is emotional. Not only are you adjusting to life with your new medical condition, but you will be forced to talk about it, relive it and talk about it again seemingly non stop for as long as four or five years after the incident actually happened. For some people, this can be like having it happen over and over again. It can invade your dreams and it can seem like it is dominating your life. Most people imagine that while they go through this step, they feel a constant stream of sadness, but sadness is usually only one of the central feelings present. There is anger that this happened to you when, in most cases, it could have been avoided and there is also the feeling of being victimized, as well, which is often the worst part. For a malpractice suit to go forward and be extended for a period of years, a person needs a support network of family, friends and a good lawyer to get through it all in one piece.
Second, people are often amazed at the sheer amount of time a court case like this takes to weave its way through the United States court system. There is a reason why the courts have the reputation they do; thanks to the huge number of delay tactics lawyers on both sides can employ, a case can be extended almost indefinitely. Legal wrangling of this sort isn’t unusual, it is simply the way the system works and it should be an expected part of each and every malpractice suit filed.
Finally, the cost of a malpractice suit is often overlooked by many families who simply want to seek some form of justice for what happened to them. When we are wronged and we have a legal remedy to the situation, we simply exercise our right and bring forth a malpractice suit. What we don’t do is sit back and think about the fact that we might need this lawyer on retainer for the next four years until the hospital or doctor in question stops putting up road blocks so that a trial can happen and a verdict can be rendered. Combine the lawyer costs with other unplanned expenses and you can see how people have been financially ruined first by the malpractice and then later by the malpractice case.
While this article may be pessimistic in tone, it is vitally important that incompetent doctors and dangerous hospitals be held accountable for their deeds, but it is equally important that you understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you file the proper paperwork.