Some medical negligence cases are obvious right away. If you go in to have your bad kidney removed and they accidentally take out the good one (that’s rare, but it’s happened), then there is no doubt that you have a case to pursue.
But more often than not, it’s not obvious that there is a case, at least not right away.
A good example of this is a man that called me in 2011 after he was in tremendous pain following a lumbar fusion surgery. He didn’t feel like any of his problems were solved.
The problem for him is that he underwent a major surgery that has no guarantees. It would be expected that he’d be in terrible pain after such an operation. In fact, three lawyers he called before he talked to us told him that he had no case because the surgery wasn’t guaranteed.
While we agree with these lawyers in general, every case is unique and if you have a major injury or complication, then it deserves to be looked in to. In this case, we discovered that the surgeon had been previously suspended from practicing medicine in two other states before getting a license in Illinois. We also learned that the caller was not a good candidate for the surgery performed and it was done at the wrong level.
The bottom line is that this person has what appears to be a great case. It’s unfortunate for him that is true because he is pretty messed up, but it would have been worse if this doctor was able to get away with it.
A lawsuit is currently pending. The lesson is that if you do have a major injury, you might not have a case, but nobody can really tell you that for sure without looking at all of your medical records and investigating your unique facts. 19 out of 20 times a case like this is probably not actually a winnable case. Lazy Illinois medical malpractice law firms don’t look in to the details. The good ones do and that’s why they are successful.
Written by Michael Helfand