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Why do Attorneys Refuse Medical Malpractice Cases where the Doctor has Intentionally Caused Harm

Jun 21, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

Why are most medical malpractice attorneys reluctant to take on a case where the doctor has done something intentional to cause harm to the patient.

Intentional Wrongdoing is not Covered by Insurance

If the doctor did something intentional to cause you harm, the reason why most medical malpractice attorneys in New York will not take your case is because there will not be any available insurance coverage. When harm is done intentionally, the doctor’s professional liability insurance company is going to say that they do not cover anything that was done intentionally. The insurance company will state that they only cover situations that were accidental, that were negligent, or mistaken circumstances.

Lawyers Work on Contingency Fees

If you have been injured because of a doctor’s intentional conduct, the chances of recovering any compensation is slim. Even if you were able to attain a judgment against such a doctor, it would be a victory only on paper. It would carry very little weight.

However, you cannot collect anything because the doctor does not have the insurance coverage for that particular act. An attorney will be unwilling to take up such a case because his fees will be on contingency basis and therefore in this situation your attorney will not be able to receive any compensation.

When you file a medical malpractice case, or any personal injury case, your lawyer will get paid fees only when you win the case and the jury awards you compensation. This is how most of these scenarios work. Are you going to pay your attorney an hourly fee when you have financial issues of your own and if you lose the case? Of course not – certainly not when most attorneys are willing to work on a contingency basis.

Contingency fees means the lawyer will acquire a percentage of what you receive as compensation. Suppose you lose your case, your attorney does not receive any fees. On the other hand, even if you win your case and the jury awards you compensation there is no way of recovering this amount from the defense since as already stated, the insurance company does not pay out any money if the doctor chose to harm you. This means there is not any money in it for your attorney.

Difference between Negligence and Intentional Wrongdoing

It is different when the doctor does something improper, or has failed to do something that he should have done which has led to your injury and harm. Such an act would be considered accidental, even though the doctor has violated the basic standards of medical care.

However, if the doctor, during his course of treatment intentionally harms you-it will most probably rise to the level of criminal conduct. Nevertheless, that is not going to help you recover any compensation for the injuries and suffering you have endured because of the doctor’s actions. Secondly, not any insurance company can cover an intentional act, since it goes against the principles of insurance and risk taking.

If intentional wrongdoing is evident, the DA will pick up the case and this doctor will no longer be a doctor soon enough and the hospital will fire them most likely before the case ever goes to trial. For you to recover any compensation you will have to file a civil suit. Hiring a lawyer for such a case will be difficult, however, an attorney might take up the case and charge you fees on an hourly basis.

The good news here is, that you will most likely win. It is almost a slam dunk case if they are convicted of a crime. Any money you win here will come from the doctor; their house, car, savings, will all be fair game for you and your attorney to target.

You can find an attorney to represent you. You may have to make a few phone calls though for a case such as this though.