Q. What is a professional?
A. A professional is a person
who holds himself out to the public as having specialized skills and
training in a given area of practice. It includes doctors, lawyers,
accountants, engineers and many other individuals licensed under the
laws of any state to practice a profession.
Q. What is malpractice?
A. Malpractice is negligence by
a professional while performing his job. Ordinarily professional are
held to a high duty of care; at very least, he must act in a manner
consistent with what is expected from a similar professional in his
Q. If I think that I have been the victim of malpractice, what should I do?
A. You should consult with an
attorney who deals in malpractice law. Malpractice cases are one of
the most difficult cases to prove and win. Ordinarily the case
involves a battle of experts, where experts for you and the defendant
will give opinion testimony as to whether the professional was
negligent or met the standard of care for the services rendered.
Q. If an attorney does take my case, what are my costs?
A. Most attorneys will take
your case on a contingency basis; that is, he will take a percentage
of the recovery of anywhere between 25%-50% depending on what is
customary in your state. Ordinarily, an attorney will advance all
costs necessary to prosecute your case, including filing fees,
deposition costs and expert witness fees. Most often, the attorney
will agree not to seek reimbursement of costs from you should the case
be lost; this is a matter which is negotiable and should be clarified
at the initial interview with the lawyer. If a case is lost, you may
be liable for the defendant's costs in defending the case; these costs
can be substantial.
Q. What can I expect to recover if I am successful in a malpractice case?
A. You can recover your out of
pocket expenses and losses which flow naturally from the malpractice.
You also may be entitled to recover the value of your pain and
suffering, loss of ability to enjoy life, disability and past and
future lost income. Your pain and suffering may include the pain
resulting from the loss of a loved one.
Q. How long can a person wait to bring a malpractice claim?
A. A majority of states have short statutes of limitation (period within which the claim must be brought or the claim will be forever lost). If you believe that you have been the victim of malpractice you should seek a legal opinion without hesitation.