Very few personal injury attorneys are willing to take on medical malpractice cases, and for good reason—they are difficult to win and expensive. Yet, just because they are more complex and costly than other personal injury cases does not mean victims of malpractice should go without legal aid. Health care providers still need to be held accountable for their negligence and victims deserve to be compensated. Unfortunately, when an attorney is willing to take on a malpractice case, he or she must expend significant resources to ensure the case even has a fighting chance. When there is no guarantee that the case will win (less than 20% of cases settle in the plaintiff’s favor), many of those lawyers are unwilling to invest in all the appropriate resources. This lack of investment hurts both the client and attorney.
Why are Medical Malpractice Cases So Difficult and Costly?
There are several reasons medical malpractice cases are so expensive and hard to win, the first of which is the uneven playing field. The plaintiff of a medical malpractice claim is likely your average Joe, someone who works nine-to-five 40 hours a week and is still barely able to make ends meet. A healthcare provider, on the other hand, has the backing of the medical malpractice insurance company. For the sake of winning as opposed to justice, the defendant physician and his or her insurance company will advance the costs of litigation, including expert witness fees, lawyer fees, court fees, and the like. Though, if successful, the plaintiff stands to gain a lot from a malpractice claim, most plaintiffs lack the resources to successfully defend their cases.
In addition to the uneven playing field, plaintiffs and their attorneys must come up with the fees to pay expert witnesses. Expert witness testimony is the most fundamental aspect of any medical malpractice case, as it is up to the expert witness to establish an appropriate standard of care. Without this testimony, a case is shot. Recruiting an expert witness can be costly and difficult for both plaintiff and defendant, especially as both must recruit experts from the same field who come to opposite conclusions. The average expert witness fee is $254/hour for file review, $353/hour for depositions, and $385/hour for in-court testimony. Typically, defendants’ insurance companies will foot the bill for the testimony, but plaintiffs have no such advantage.
Another fee plaintiffs must consider is that related to arbitration. Less than 5% of medical malpractice cases go to trial. The rest settle outside of court during arbitration. Though arbitration is far less costly than litigation, it comes with its own fees. Though rates vary from state to state, plaintiffs and their attorneys can expect to pay $200 or more per hour for adjudication. If disputing parties cannot come to an agreement during negotiations, they will be forced to go to trial anyway.
Legal Funding Provides the Financial Assistance Plaintiffs Need
Fortunately, legal funding is available to parties with viable personal injury cases—medical malpractice or not. In fact, because of the high cost of these types of cases, most attorneys recommend pre-settlement funding to their clients. If you or a loved one was injured by a practitioner or other healthcare provider, or if you have a client whom you would love to help but simply do not have the resources to adequately do so, contact Capital Financing to see how we can help you get the capital you need to pursue justice today.