Students gathered on Jan. 30 to hear acclaimed medical malpractice attorney, Timothy Law, discuss the changing landscape of the medical malpractice profession in an event hosted by the Health Law Society.
Recently, Lawn helped secure a $23 million jury verdict in a malpractice case involving untimely medication delivery in an emergency room. However, Lawn cautioned that results like that are rare these days. Legislation capping awards in medical malpractice cases are becoming more and more common, he said. There is also a growing trend with states enacting “No-Fault” medical malpractice laws virtually eliminating the personal liability of any doctor for wrongdoing.
Some of the more positive effects of recent legislation are requirements that every attorney filing a medical malpractice claim certify that there is a good-faith basis for the claim, Lawn said. This sometimes raises the bar and weeds out illegitimate claims, Lawn suggested. However, similar requirements also raise expenses for a plaintiff because medical experts are now required in every case.
Despite these changes, Lawn said the medical malpractice profession is still very rewarding. It forces an attorney to think critically about the merits of each case and become a quasi-expert in medical issues. Since so many factors affect a jury verdict, from expert testimony, the complexity of the procedure in question, to individual doctor personalities, an attorney in medical malpractice must draw on his or her experience and intuition to succeed, Lawn concluded.