Dan Huff Explains Medical Malpractice Cases

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Manage episode 199271113 series 1607691
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Medical malpractice cases are stressful. Imagine being accused of harming a patient you were trying to help or putting them in a wheelchair or killing them. That is bad enough, but then think about having to relive it all again in litigation and a trial. It’s hard for the most stalwart physician to handle. Knowing the process helps the anxiety. Dan Huff will break down the anatomy of a medical malpractice lawsuit, and he will address some important dos and don’ts to help physicians avoid being sued and what steps they should take it they are sued. A med-mal lawsuit begins after a bad outcome. The patient’s medical records and conversations with the patient and other providers will then take place – which will serve as the basis of analyzing the care you provided. Either because of dissatisfaction or unanswered questions, a patient or their family consults a lawyer. Many patients are not the “suing type,” but they get pressure from friends or family members to have a bad outcome investigated by an attorney. If they accept the case, the attorney obtains the patient’s medical records and have them reviewed by an expert. If the case is considered meritorious, it is filed with an expert affidavit in the county where one of the defendants resides. After the case is filed, the parties engage in discovery – which is the process that take the longest in any civil lawsuit. It involves discovering the evidence from each side. The scariest part of discovery is a deposition – testimony under oath – of you and other health care providers. After all of the witnesses have testified, expert depositions are taken. In order to get the case to the jury, the plaintiff must present evidence of a physician-patient relationship, a violation of the standard of care (which requires expert testimony), and that the violation of the standard of care caused damages to the patient. The plaintiff must also prove damages. The plaintiff need only establish some evidence of these elements to have their case presented to the jury. At trial, the plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence each of these elements. The jury decides whether there was any malpractice based on the evidence that is presented during the trial. It also determines what damages, if any, occurred. Juries cannot roll back the clock, and the only remedy is money damages. The verdict must be unanimous in its decision. If the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the judge will declare a mistrial and the case must be retried. After a verdict, either side has a right to appeal. Dan Huff is a partner with Huff, Powell & Bailey. For nearly 30 years, Mr. Huff has specialized in the defense of high-damage lawsuits in Georgia – primarily medical malpractice lawsuits and claims. Dan has represented defendants in more than 105 jury trials, and he has defended and successfully tried cases for every medical specialty and numerous hospitals. Mr. Huff has made the ‘Georgia Super Lawyer’ and ‘Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia’ lists on a regular basis. It is also worth noting that Dan has written articles for the MAG Journal on a regular basis for more than 10 years. On The Web: www.mag.org www.huffpowellbailey.com

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