Can I bring a lawsuit against a doctor/hospital that is not technically a "malpractice" suit?

Asked about 2 years ago - Miami, FL

Lawyers work on contingency- I get that and so pick up only the cases which involve huge damages like wrongful death and catastrphic injury because it means more dinero. But alot of lawyers and I daresay a lot of doctors would be pissed off if they experienced any adverse consequence of medical care regardless of whether it is "paralyzing or killing" just because of the nature of the type A personality that inhabits these professions. That said, my case involves the most absurd negligence (really very embarassing for the doctor) but I did not suffer wrongful death or catastrophic injury at the hands of my doctor, just enough damage that I am less healthy after the procedure than before the procedure, but not DEAD. The hospital has remained tight lipped in spite of emails sent to risk manag

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have been ignored and my doctors have similarly cut off all communication with me since the incident, which looks really guilty for people alledging NOT-malpractice. They harmed me by their first medical mistake. Ok. But then they harmed me again but not trying to undo the original mistake because doing so might be an admission that harm was done. Can I sue the hospital for being a business when I need it to be a hospital? Is it legal for hospitals/doctors to abandon patients this way on the slightest .00001% of malpractice(as again I wasn't killed by the mistake) setting the stage for further complications due to refusal of care? Can I sue a hospital like I would a business, i.e. not fulfilling their end of the bargain. Like I said, I wasn't going to pursue malpractice for the adorementioned reasons, but this unprofessionalism? unmitigated greed? just takes the cake.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. John David Kelner

    Contributor Level 10

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It's hard to know how many will read this response but it is not directed at just you.

    I have seen dozens of questions recently which start of with "Can I sue?" or "Can I bring a lawsuit."

    The answer to all of these (assuming that there is not fraud in the claim) is typically or should be typically, "Sure you can." But that's not the real question which is being asked. What you and everyone else is asking is "Will an attorney take my case on a contingent fee and invest his/her money and his/her time and only get paid if they win?"

    Your comments raise a real problem with the current laws encouraged by what I view as a misplaced support for a termination of medical negligence litigation by conservative folks who have been misled. Ask any doctor if their premiums for coverage have gone down. Ask anyone if their health insurance premiums went down. THESE were the promises of those who pushed for Tort Reform. And now, because of the HUGE investment in costs and sometimes hundreds of hours of time invested, attorneys on contingent fees must, to economically survive, take only larger cases. It takes almost the same hours to prosecute a small case well that it does to prosecute a larger case.

    Lawyers don't work just on contingencies. They are allowed to work on contingency fees so that folks who don't have the money to pay an attorney can get representation to right these wrongs that you speak of. The legislature and particularly the conservatives who screamed "frivolous lawsuits" at the population have won. They have made it too expensive to right some absolute wrongs on a contingency fee because they have made it too expensive.

    You can hire any attorney you like at an hourly rate and pay the costs and you can get a good attorney to work for you. When you hear a good faith estimate of the number of hours it will take and the costs it will take to bring the case to an end, you are likely to just change your mind about suing.

    This may not answer your question but your premise and content reflects misdirected anger at attorneys instead of properly directed anger at insurance companies who tricked doctors and people in general to rail against attorneys and vote for conservative (typically Republican) politicians for a promised benefit which never occurred. What it did do was make these insurance companies so cash flush that a law had to be passed that if they are spending 80% of their income on claims, they had to give the money back. How many people have laws passed like that against them because they earn too much money.

    Yes, there was even a law passed which says that most adult children over age 25 can't sue for the medical negligence committed against their parents. That is they ARE NOT ALLOWED to sue with some very small exceptions. You can't even PAY an attorney to do this. It's not allowed.

    There's an upcoming election. No one seems to care about any of this until they feel their rights are affected and want help. Attorneys see it daily. You can make your choices and as a group we will live with our choices.

    For your specific situation you should speak to an attorney to get an answer. You can decide if you want to pay him/her by the hour if they are unwilling to take your claim on only a contingent fee.

    This is not intended as specific legal advice to you or about your case. The only way to provide that is for you... more
  2. S. David Rosenthal Esquire

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It's not totally clear what you are asking, but I will take a shot. You are right that lawyers that handle medical malpractice cases typically are very picky about the cases they take, although this is not purely because of greed.

    Medical malpractice cases are notoriously complicated, expensive and difficult to win. A lawyer may spend thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars of his/her own money, plus hours of lawyer and staff time, just to find out if there is a possibility of winning the case. That is because in order to even get to a jury in a medical negligence case, another doctor who practices in the same specialty has to be retained to review the records and give you an opinion as to whether the treating doctor's conduct fell below the "standard of care" and whether that breach of the doctor's duty caused significant injury to the patient.

    The lawyer must first pay to btain medical records that are often voluminous, review and summarize the records, then pay the expert to review the summarized materials. Sometimes the expert says there is no case and the time and money invested by the lawyer is simply lost. Sometimes it becomes apparent after additional time and money is spent during the lawsuit that there is no case and the time and money is lost. Sometimes cases that appear winnable go to jury trial at great cost and effort and the jury says there is no case. So any lawyer in their right mind must feel that there is a possibility of a signficant recovery, i.e., there must be substantial damages, to take the fincancial risk involved in pursuing a medical malpractice case.

    In general, good medical malpractice attorneys are bright, hard working, and passionate about achieving justice for their clients against great odds.

    Your health issue is serious to you. I understand that you are frustrated that there doesn't appear to be attorney interest in your case. However, I wouldn't be too quick to judge the lawyers.

    Medical malpractice is the same thing as medical negligence. There's no way to couch a lawsuit in suit for failure to properly perform medical care causing injury that is "technically" something other than a malpractice suit. If you have a legitimate case and you have a real injury, you should continue to search for an attorney. One way to help is to obtain all of your medical records yourself for the attorney to review.

    If no lawyer is willing to take your case because the injury is not serious enough, maybe you should just be thankful you don't have a good malpractice case.

    Good luck.

  3. David Bradley Dohner

    Contributor Level 13

    7

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . I have to admit that both you and your question have aroused my curiosity. Let me get the bbad news out of the way right up front. the docto4rs, hospitals, insureers thro9ugh the back door, various other medical professipnal who fall within the definition of medical providers as set foth in Chapter 766 and who, therefore, benefit by its protections, along with, of course, their flobnyists, really did an amazingly horrific thing to any protectons Floridians had remaining under the already existing statutes which were restrictive beyonnd any belief tha tthey could ever withstand Conostituttional challenge, which .... they did. I attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and felt that I was a pretty smart guy, because the Dean told us all that we were during his Commencement address and that was good enough for me, so when I arrived fresh out of law school in Miami in 1883 and first read the entirety of Chapter 766, my jaw dropped below the floor, I think it ended up in the basement, and I immediately set about the process of searching for the appropriate case that would be best suited for an appelllate challenge to the absolutely abhorrent denial of access to the courts which the statute clearly creates. At some juncture, I went back and did someting which I had forgotten to do before I got started on scheduleing meeings and looking forward to changing the landscape of Florida's medical negligence desert, I read some of the ezxisting appellate decisons which was incredibly deflating as it turned out that I was certainly no Christopher Columbus and a lot of bright guys and gals had already attacked the seemingly easy target from all angles only ro be shot down time and again. Incredibly, to me -even now, as a matter of fact chapter 766 states with absolute clarity that any action whether founded in torty or contract shall be subject to the providison of chapter 766. Give the Devil his due..;.the lobbyists for the medical//ionsurance industry did one hell of a job.

    You sound like a pretty bright guy. I am sure you will theefore, agee that when anotehr prett bright guy herars you story and the conclusion is I really don';t want my pain measure d by a guage and you implicityly refuse to provide even oone detail regarding what the nature of the harm you suffer hapens to be , the lightbulb that goes off in bright uy number 2's head reads "no injury". You are absolutely incorrect that lawyers will not take cases unless they invovle wrongful death or catastrophic injuryu. But whenever someone makes a caustic comment like that which is just begging for a reply my default respone now is to say ...no problem; let's just inver the exchange and I will work for you for a flat fee or by billing hourly and you in turn willl bear all costs of litigation and keep the entire recovery 100%. If we all should be clamoring to gamble a huige chunk of change just to get through presuit under the provisons of chapter 766 which are mandatoory and will result in dismissl if not cppomplied with in full, then you should be dying for the chance to keep the whole return on investmen t. Right? I ca n ot see what I am ryping becaue my contacts awere bothing my etes and I just wanted to throw my two cents in, but I don;'t think I have ever provied a rreponse that had more than a very few spelling or grammatical so I am not exactly dying to read my answer as it probably looks like a lot of letter I receive from teh local jails writtenin crayon. Sorry, I will find my glasses an d provide a comment further clarifying some of the points expressed thus far. As to your other Conspiracy of Silence queston, do you really need for my apparently monstrous fingers to roam al over my keyboard and sarcastically assail the question you posed knowing that the anser is no very well. HOWEVER, IF THERE IS EVIDENCE OF FRAUD O R TAMPERING, WHICH WE HAVE FOUND QUITE A BIT MORE FREQUENTLY THAN YOU WOULD THINK OR HOPE OVER THE YEARS, NOW YOUR'RE TALKI

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