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Can you file a med mal claim against a doctor without an attorney?

Lexington, SC |

I have a hole in my soft pallet. The doctor who did the surgery was dismissive and wouldn't discuss. I'm now going to another ENT and the hole requires another surgery.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Normally yes. The problem is that the cases are very expensive to pursue, and very hard to win. You should talk to a few attorneys before you decide to file it yourself. If a number of attorneys turn down the case, it usually means it is a hard case to win or your damages are too small.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Alabama. Responses are based solely on Alabama law unless stated otherwise.


  2. In theory you can. In practice, if you do you will certainly lose the case. These cases are challenging even for expert lawyers.

    Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to Avvo questions are for general information purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.


  3. Technically, yes, you can pursue a case against a physician without an attorney. But you'd be setting yourself up for (1) disappointment and a sure loss; and (2) the likelihood of having to pay the physician's defense costs and possibly attorney's fees (this depends a lot on South Carolina law of which I'm not familiar).

    Medical malpractice claims are ridiculously complicated. In most states they are governed by a specific, independent set of laws (in other words, different from "plain negligence" like car wreck cases, etc.) Medical experts must be retained. Many states impose stiff penalties for plaintiffs that file cases that are deemed "frivolous"; they usually define "frivolous" in such a way to include most legitimate claims. The short bottom line: a non-lawyer plaintiff that handles a malpractice case by himself/herself will be rolled by the defense in about 75 days or less.

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