When Should You Sue For Medical Malpractice?

Posted by Steve Levine on February 17, 2015
Law / 2 Comments

stethoscope is located in a medical bookFiling a medical malpractice lawsuit is no walk in the park. A malpractice lawsuit can cost you tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees, not to mention the time it will take to bring forth a claim. In the process, you will also open yourself up to public scrutiny. Another important thing to note about malpractice lawsuits is that, unlike other types of personal injury claims, medical malpractice case trends indicate a tendency of siding with the doctors and other health professionals, as well as healthcare providers, instead of the injured plaintiff. Even if you won a case, settlement is not guaranteed as a doctor has the unique ability to refuse to settle, regardless if the settlement amount is covered or not by his insurance provider. To put it lightly, a malpractice case involves lots of work, lots of headache and has little to no guarantee of a successful settlement. Many people would like to sue their doctors for malpractice. Before they do, they will want to know all the risks and consequences of such a move.

Does your case legally qualify for medical malpractice?

Before you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor, you must consider whether your case meets all the legal conditions in order to qualify for a medical malpractice claim. Did your doctor breach medical standards and did you suffer as a result of that breach? Be as clear and as honest as you can be. Would you still be suffering if the doctor did not neglect the medical standard? If you can answer clearly with a “yes” and “no” to these questions, you might have a shot at bringing a medical malpractice claim to court. If you can allege, and be backed by expert support and opinion, that you wouldn’t have been brought to harm if the doctor did not breach the medical standard, then your case will have a high chance of not being dismissed immediately (like it happens with the majority of malpractice lawsuits).

There is a difference between malpractice and unsuccessful treatment

It’s not uncommon for people to sue their doctors for medical malpractice because they aren’t satisfied with the results of their treatment. However a poor medical result does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice has occurred. Medicine, unfortunately, is far from being an exact science. Even the most basic medications and procedures can lead to complications in the short or long term. There is no guarantee that a certain treatment will bring 100% positive results to all patients. Because of this, it’s possible for a doctor to follow all the advised methods and procedures and still fail to obtain a favorable result.

So how can a layman know the difference between unsuccessful medical care and medical malpractice? By asking. First off, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor. After that, asking the opinions of other specialists and medical professionals. A malpractice lawyer will put you in touch with medical staff that is trained to spot medical malpractice from less successful treatment. When you’re asking around, don’t take any opinion at face value. Some doctors will shy away from outright accusing a “fellow physician” of making a dangerous mistake. Some malpractice attorneys will attempt to exaggerate your claim and your situation in order to convince you to file a lawsuit.  Use discretion when asking for opinions but persevere when it comes to obtaining information. In such a case, you are your own best adviser and investigator.

What if your claim is dismissed?

Malpractice lawsuits are draining both on finances and time as well as on emotional well-being. They can turn into long, drawn-out cases that turn nasty quick. Before you decide to file a lawsuit against your doctor, make sure that you are prepared to deal with the consequences: both financial and social.

Medical malpractice lawsuit costs are high. Getting the opinion of expert witnesses, accessing and obtaining copies of medical records, fees for witness and deposition, additional medical exams — all these are required and they sure don’t come cheap. If you lose your case, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in expenses — depending on the legal agreement that you signed. Does the financial benefit of this case outweigh the possible risk?

Do you hold a grudge against a doctor? Have you been 100% truthful about your case? Are you ready to face hours of interrogation from attorneys, both your own and those of the defendant? Are you prepared to make financial disclosures that will most likely go public? When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, all the details of your life become public. This is the price of playing the game.

Handling Xarelto Blood Thinner Cases

Posted by Steve Levine on February 07, 2015
Law / No Comments

xarelto_bottleIf you or your loved ones have used Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) and suffered injuries, then you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Paying healthcare bills shouldn’t come out of your pocket if you’re the victim. It’s simple to file a lawsuit and may have an end result of you receiving financial compensation for your pain and suffering.

What Is Xarelto?

Xarelto is a blood thinning anticoagulant designed to prevent blood clots forming with patient suffering from various heart conditions and irregular heartbeats. It is also commonly used by people who just had hip or knee replacement surgery.

Who This Drug Is Not For

Xarelto works by taking proteins in your blood and transforming them in a way that prevents clotting from happening and almost certain complications that may result in death.  There are instances where you would not want to use this drug; for example if you have an artificial heart valve, stay away from using Xarelto.  Also if you already have a history of uncontrollable bleeding you should speak to your doctor before using any blood thinner such as the drug Xarelto.

You should also consider the alternative drugs if you have a genetic spinal defect. Taking Xarelto could further complicate things, so stay away. For people who have a spinal catheter in place or if you’ve recently had a spinal tap or epidural anesthesia, you will want to also avoid use.

The main obvious ones are if you have certain types of abnormal bleeding, unusual bleeding and are allergic to rivaroxaban or other Xarelto ingredients.

The Problematic Irreversible Damages Of Xarelto 

Big Parma started 2015 off with two U.S. courts consolidating groups of Xarelto lawsuits that claim the blood thinner caused severe bleeding, some of which caused drug recipients to die. There is no exit strategy for Xarelto. When a Xarelto Bleedout begins, there is little doctors can do to stop it.

Unlike warfarin, Xarelto has no dietary restrictions or blood tests, but causes more gastrointestinal bleeds. This excessive bleeding has led to serious complications, and patients and their families soon turned to litigation as compensation for damages.

Lawsuits Rising Against Xarelto

The first consolidation order took action in December 2014 when around two dozen cases in LA federal court were transferred to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict District Litigation (JPML). The drug giants, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer claimed there were not enough similarities to go ahead with the order, but the panel disagreed.

The JPML panel stated, “While we agree that these actions present a number of individualized factual issues, the existence of such issues do not negate the common ones.”

The main allegations against the manufacturers of Xarelto is that the labeling did not warn consumers about the sever bleeding risks. The plaintiffs also have taken issue with Xarelto’s clinical trial results.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals stated, “We will defend the claims raised in this litigation. Xarelto is an important anticoagulant used to treat and reduce the risk of life-threatening blood clots.”

There are now nearly 90 Xarelto lawsuits that have been added to the Federal blood thinner litigation since December.

Xarelto is not the only class action lawsuit currently against drug manufacturers. There are also many recent class action lawsuits that do not even pertain to the healthcare industry.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by Xarelto or another prescription medication, we suggest you immediately contact an attorney to help you or your loved one receive the compensation that is deserved. You want to make sure you get on board as quickly as possible and most lawyer will review your case for free.

 

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Handling Testosterone Drug Injury Cases

Posted by Steve Levine on December 02, 2014
Law / No Comments
photo credit: Kamal H.

A huge increase in television advertisements for “Low T” products in the last four years has now driven TV advertising for a new class of advertisers: Low T drug attorneys. Unlike the former, these new ads cropping up on male-centric television programing aren’t promoting the use of products like Androgel or Androderm, they are seeking victims to serve as plaintiffs in class action lawsuits against the makers of those products.

Marketing blitzes by the makers of these synthetic testosterone drugs drove demand for what was previously a very tiny medical segment, men who suffered from hypogonadism (clinically low testosterone levels), usually the result of injury or disease. After the industry began driving attention to their products through multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, prescriptions for these drugs surged exponentially. Critics claim that the these companies, in the quest for products, “created” a fairy-tale medical “condition ” of low testosterone, or Low T.  Testosterone products were promoted and (over) prescribed for nearly any ailment or complaint by male clients, even symptoms that would previously have been considered part of the natural aging process. Now, dozens of mass tort attorneys are gearing up to take on the industry, with new low-T lawsuits being filed every day. Numerous legal questionnaires are appearing online, collecting information from men who have alleged they were misled, and even physically harmed, by the makers of low-T products.

Increased Health Risks from Testosterone Products

The primary driver of testosterone drug cases is the increased rate of serious health effects in men after using them. Clinical studies and a recent FDA warning assert that the risk of cardiovascular side effects are doubled in low-T product users over the age of 65, and tripled in men over the age of 75. These men suffered from greatly increased rates of heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), even if they had no other risk factors prior to using testosterone products. If you are a victim of one of these cardiovascular events, or their attorney, the first priority should be to cease usage of the product if it hasn’t already been done, and then document what medical side effects occurred, and when they occurred after the prescription was given.

Misleading Advertising of Low-T Products

For men who were unaware of the health risks when they began taking these drugs, the marketing efforts of these drug companies to “create” a disease in order to sell the “cure” has created additional avenues for recovery from men who used testosterone products. Although not all men who have taken these drugs have experienced serious medical side effects, they have still been harmed by the manufacturers, some lawsuits allege. This harm stems from misleading marketing claims, over-prescribing, and failure to explain risks of drug usage by the companies manufacturing these drugs. Evidence has shown that less than 25% of the men who have been prescribed these drugs were ever actually tested for hypogonadism, the only medical condition the drugs ever received FDA approval for as a treatment. While these concerns may not be as serious as actual heart attacks or death, these men are still victims of the drug companies responsible for promoting their products as safe and convenient treatments for all types of maladies, and could be compensable in federal courts.

Low-T attorneys in nearly every state, including California, Washington, Minnesota, and Florida, are filing lawsuits as individual actions or as part of the MDL Androgel Litigation in Illinois. If you believe you have a claim for low-T drug injury, consult with a qualified attorney in your state to discuss legal options, case proceedings, and settlement negotiations.

How to Handle Medical Device Injury Cases

Posted by Steve Levine on October 21, 2014
Law / No Comments

Photo Credit: LSAF Media. All Rights ReservedIf you have had surgery where a medical device was used or implanted, and suffered injury as a result, you can seek compensation for the injury. The compensation you receive from litigation against the manufacturer can cover existing medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as future revisionary surgeries. In particular, devices that have been recalled (either voluntarily by the manufacturer, or by the F.D.A.) are nearly always eligible for compensation where there is clear defect with the device or its use. The Food and Drug Administration maintains a list of all recalled medical devices, so your first step should be to check for a recall of the device that caused you injury.

Most of the devices that are subject to class action status are recalled devices that are implanted in the body. These include hip and knee implants, spinal fusion implants, and surgical mesh. These cases are the ones that are most often litigated through class action lawsuits, because there is a large group of people who have all received the implants, and who all are at risk of current and future side effects. Mass tort attorneys take these cases on behalf of individual victims or “classes”, and either negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the at-fault companies (typically household names like Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson), or litigate the cases on behalf of the class and work towards a jury trial verdict in favor of their clients. Unlike bad drug cases, a much larger percentage of device defect cases are resolved prior to a jury or bench trial. Some legal experts believe that is because there is less variety in the side effects reported by victims compared to medications, while other attorneys believe the household-name companies wish to avoid the bad publicity of a trial. Either way, the mass tort litigation arena is a multi-billion dollar industry, and victims of bad device side effects can be well-compensated for their injuries.

To make sure that you maximize your compensation if you are a victim of a defective medical device, there are a few important steps you should follow.

Get Proper Medical Attention, And Document It

The first step in resolving a medical device claim is to get the necessary medical attention, and document it. The more organized and complete your paperwork is, the better case your medical device attorney can present to the company responsible. Some people think (erroneously) that if they have “too much” medical care, than it hurts their case. When it comes to medical devices, there is no such thing as “too much care”, especially where revisionary surgery is a common outcome from a bad device. Get all necessary care, and make sure you involve specialists whenever possible. Your eventual settlement will be higher if you have documented treatment, rather than trying to “tough it out”, which is not compensable the way medical bills are.

After your doctor has ascertained your condition, the severity and the extent of the injuries, likelihood of future medical care or surgery, and your chances of recovery, you will have a clearer view of what amount it would take to make you whole.

Calculate Special (Economic) Damages

Special damages or economic losses are damages for which a direct and precise monetary value can be assigned. Known as the “out-of-pocket loss” rule, special damages include things like:

  • Lost or reduced wages
  • Decreased earning capacity, current and in the future
  • Medical expenses and expenses for special equipment
  • Funeral and burial expenses where death was a result
  • Revisionary Surgery

Special damages are separate and in addition to compensation for things like pain and suffering and reduced quality of life, which are harder to calculate. . Keep all records of past medical expenses, prescription medication costs (even if covered by health insurance),lost wages and future care expenses you may need – all of this will help in calculating the special damages that you are entitled to compensation for.

Consult an Attorney

Some victims feel they will have an easier time settling their device case, or will recover more if no attorney fees are included, if they attempt to negotiate a deal themselves. This is almost never true. Medical device litigation is some of the most complex cases involving deep-pocket pharmaceutical companies who have the upper hand. Some companies will not even negotiate with a potential victim unless the are represented by competent legal counsel. Because mass tort attorneys work on a contingency fee, there is no real up-front cost to engaging them to represent you, and the difference in eventual settlement amounts will almost always exceed what a victim would have received even without the contingent attorney’s fee. Class action cases cannot be handled without an attorney (as the lead counsel is presumed to be acting on behalf of all victims, not just the ones who are his clients), and most federal courts where these cases are handled have very specific rules about licensed attorneys presenting the cases.