According to recent data from Johns Hopkins University, medical errors are the third leading cause of death for American adults, topped only by heart disease and cancer. In spite of this shocking statistic, many juries tend to side with physicians over plaintiffs – even in cases where the negligence is obvious to review panels and other medical practitioners.
When combined with the fact that medical malpractice cases can be some of the most complexes, this kind of pervasive jury bias can pose some challenges for your medical malpractice claim. However, these challenges are not impossible to overcome when you hire the right trial attorney.
Why Do Juries Distrust Plaintiffs?
After looking at more than 20 years of medical malpractice outcomes, social scientists found that physicians win the majority of jury trials where there is weak evidence of negligence. When there is vigorous debate about the alleged negligence, physicians still win 70% of the time – and perhaps most startling of all, physicians win in almost 50% of the cases where undeniable negligence took place.
While it’s difficult to cite one specific reason for this trend, some patterns do emerge from the data. Because medical malpractice cases often involve detailed medical treatments and complex surgical procedures, the jargon can be confusing for juries unfamiliar with these terms. Some jurors are skeptical about the civil court system altogether and project these stigmas onto the injured plaintiff. Finally, jurors may assume that medical errors are bound to happen from time to time, even though doctors are held to a higher standard of care than most.
How to Find a Skilled Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Although these odds may seem insurmountable, many medical malpractice lawyers are able to overcome this problem, winning fair compensation for their injured and sick clients. But how can you determine the skill level of your trial attorney before you actually face the jury?
Here are some of the things you should look for when researching medical malpractice attorneys in your state:
- A strong trial record on similar cases. When assessing a trial attorney, it’s critical to look at their track record in the courtroom and ask them detailed questions about the cases they’ve handled in the past. Past successes in medical malpractice are a good sign that they can handle any challenges in your case, too.
- Reputation for integrity and honesty. In order to convince difficult jurors of your injuries, your attorney will need to demonstrate a high level of integrity, ethical behavior, and honesty, and have a great reputation among their peers and clients. While reputation alone isn’t enough to win your case, it increases the chance that the jury will listen to your attorney’s arguments.
- Familiarity with medical and scientific terms. Although your lawyer doesn’t need a medical background to try your case, it’s vital that they understand complex medical terms. Make sure to ask any prospective counsel about their certifications and past experiences in the medical world before you begin.
- A network of medical experts and resources. Medical malpractice trials often hinge on the testimony of expert witnesses, who can vouch for your claims and explain exactly how your injuries were incurred. Look for a firm that has worked to build great relationships with doctors, consultants, and specialists over the years.
Do you need to find the right counsel for your medical malpractice claim? Call our Birmingham injury law firm today at 800-568-5330 to speak with our nationally recognized medical malpractice lawyers.
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