If you are trying to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer and you are being told you don’t have a case, please don’t get discouraged. Here are some reasons that an attorney could be declining to take your potential case.
1. The lawyer does not have time; they have a full docket.
If a lawyer is simply too busy, this does not mean you do not have a case. It just means you should try another lawyer. Do not be discouraged. Call other law firms.
2. The lawyer does not have much experience handling medical malpractice claims.
If you are speaking with a lawyer that does all types of law (car wrecks, divorce, real estate, criminal), he or she may not know how to evaluate a medical malpractice case properly. Medical malpractice is a specialty—qualified lawyers must know the medicine AND the law. Just like you would not go to a plastic surgeon to perform your heart surgery, you would not want a divorce lawyer to handle your medical malpractice case. The lawyers at Thomas & Wan ONLY REPRESENT VICTIMS OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE—100% of what we do is medical malpractice, and we have a combined 45+ years of experience. This is extremely important because these types of cases are very complex, require many medical experts, and are governed by rules and laws specific to medical malpractice.
3. Conflict of interest
This happens in smaller towns where a doctor is active in the community and is someone that a lawyer interacts with often. This typically does not apply in larger cities in Texas.
4. Limited damages
Texas and many other states have limits as to how much money can be recovered. As unfair and tragic as the situation can be, an attorney has to look at the damage “caps” or limits that are in place to see if he or she can afford to take your case. Bear in mind, medical malpractice lawsuits can take years to resolve. The costs of hiring experts, court costs, and travel sometimes can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that the attorney has to pay to prosecute the case. Therefore, medical malpractice attorneys are selective in what cases they take.
5. Complicated liability
A good example of this is: “I went to 8 hospitals and nobody got it right.” Proving that hospitals #1-8 were wrong is tough—perhaps the patient had many complications that were no one’s fault or perhaps by the time the patient went to hospital #9, there was additional data or test results that the other hospitals did not have. Medical malpractice cases are very complex, and it requires a lot of investigation to determine the root cause of the negligence—if there are too many unrelated factors, it can be hard to prove the cause of the malpractice.
6. The limitations period has expired
In Texas, generally, you have 2 years from the date of the alleged malpractice to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are some exceptions to this general rule (children, fraudulent concealment, continuing treatment)—it is best to discuss your specific situation with a qualified attorney. If the limitations period has indeed passed, Texas law prevents you from filing a lawsuit.
Please know that when you call an attorney’s office, there are a series of questions that you will be asked to determine whether you have a possible claim. You will need to provide the negligent hospital or doctor’s names, the date you or a family member claim the malpractice occurred, and a description of what happened. It is also very helpful if you already have the medical records. The faster our office can review the medical records with our experts, the faster we can determine whether you have a potential case. Generally, we need to review the records before knowing whether we can help you.
Furthermore, if you have been turned down by another firm, call us and we will see if we can help you. Don’t give up with the first “no”—you could very well have a medical malpractice case. Call Thomas & Wan, LLP today and speak with us. Let us see if we can help you or a loved one get the answers you need.