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How Hard Is It to Win a Medical Malpractice Suit?

If you suffered a serious injury as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, you might be thinking about your options for seeking compensation and you may be considering a medical malpractice lawsuit. Yet if you have never filed a medical malpractice lawsuit or been involved in a case in the past, it can be difficult to understand how these types of claims work and whether or not you are likely to win your case. In general, it can be difficult to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, but there are often numerous opportunities to settle a case for a reasonable amount of money, and you may be able to win a large jury verdict depending upon the specific facts of your case.

You should speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in New York if you want to learn more about the likelihood of obtaining the financial compensation you need. If the medical malpractice occurred in New York, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney who serves clients throughout New York, including Albany, Syracuse, and throughout Upstate and Western New York. Like with most types of claims, there are certain nuances with medical malpractice lawsuits to be aware of. 

Relatively Few Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Actually Go to Trial

When you are considering the possibility of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in New York, you should know that a majority of personal injury lawsuits, including medical malpractice lawsuits, do not actually go to trial. Rather, many of these cases get settled before trial. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), approximately 73 percent of all personal injury cases end in an agreed-upon settlement instead of a jury verdict. To put that number another way, about three-quarters of all personal injury lawsuits will get settled before going to trial.

Specifically, medical malpractice lawsuits tend to have higher rates of jury verdicts than other types of personal injury lawsuits. This means that you may be more likely to go to trial in a medical malpractice case than if you were filing another type of personal injury lawsuit.

Given that many cases do not go to trial but rather end in a settlement, it is important to consider what is meant by “winning” a medical malpractice case. If “winning” means obtaining compensation in a fair settlement, it may be easier to “win” your case than you might think. Yet if “winning” a case means obtaining a jury verdict in your favor, that goal may be more difficult to accomplish.

Determining Whether You Can Prove the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim

Obtaining the highest possible jury verdict in a medical malpractice lawsuit, requires having evidence to prove all of the elements of a New York medical malpractice claim. Depending upon the specific facts of your case, it can be difficult to prove all of the necessary elements to win your claim, even if you have clear suffered an injury or harm after a medical procedure. To be clear, an injury in and of itself is not sufficient to win a case. The elements of a New York medical malpractice claim are as follows: 

  • Duty: This element requires the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. If such a relationship can be established, the healthcare provider owes you a duty of care. This element is typically easy to prove when you have sought treatment, care, or a diagnosis from a particular healthcare provider and you have existing medical records.
  • Breach of Duty: This elementment is satisfied when a healthcare provider breaches their duty of care by behaving in a negligent manner. Typically, to show that a healthcare provider was negligent, you will need to be able to prove that another healthcare provider in a similar field and similar geographic region would not consider your healthcare provider’s actions or omissions to be reasonable under the circumstances. According to an article in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, the outcome of a medical malpractice lawsuit usually has a clear “correlation with the quality of care provided to the patient as judged by other physicians.” In cases where that evidence is weak, the healthcare provider is likely to win the lawsuit in about 80 percent of the cases.
  • Causation: This element requires that the healthcare provider’s negligence was the cause of your injury. This element typically requires one or more expert witnesses.
  • Injuries: This element is satisfied when you sustained damages as a result of the healthcare provider’s negligence.

Seek Advice from an Upstate New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Winning a medical malpractice case can be difficult and complicated, but our experienced New York medical malpractice attorneys can assist you. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP for more information.


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