What a Paralegal should know about Medical Malpractice Law

Paralegals play a critical role in the justice system. They conduct extensive research and gather important facts and figures which support their case’s argument. Paralegals help lawyers in preparing a lawsuit or a defense theory.

The importance of having a good paralegal is especially emphasized  in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Lawyers are busy people. They don’t have much time to do research on the medical terms, jargon and procedures surrounding a medical malpractice claim.

For that reason, having a good paralegal is essential. Needless to say, winning a medical malpractice lawsuit is not that easy.

Prior to doing reports regarding and creating a preliminary argument for the medical malpractice claim, paralegals should first assess if the case is strong and worth pursuing.

In order to do so, paralegals should assess at whether liability has been established. Similarly, paralegals should also look at the possible damages/compensation involved, as well as the people or entity who could be liable.

Medical malpractice refers to negligence committed by a professional health care provider such as a doctor, a surgeon, a nurse, or even an entire hospital or medical association.

The strength of a medical malpractice lawsuit can be determined by simply defining the “accepted standard of care” and whether it was followed or not.

The accepted standard of care refers to the universally accepted method that should be used or employed in a particular circumstance. If the accepted standard of care wasn’t followed, negligence may occur.

Several examples of negligence in the medical field include failure to inform a patient of the possible health consequences he/she is bound to experience, misdiagnosis of a particular medical condition/disease, prescribing the wrong medication/drug and unaccepted procedures that worsen the patient’s illness.

If a case of medical malpractice exists, paralegals should then identify who is liable for the damages and injuries suffered by the patient/complainant.

In most cases, the attending doctor and/or nurse are the ones who are directly liable for an act of medical malpractice. However, in some cases, the hospital where the operation/medical procedure was conducted can also be liable.

It is also necessary for paralegals to estimate the possible compensation the complainant can receive. A medical malpractice lawsuit normally takes a year or two before receiving a verdict. The cost of attorney’s fees, conducting research and hiring doctors to serve as expert/authority witness is expensive.

Hence, paralegals should look at whether the possible compensation is substantial enough to cover the expenses incurred during trial.