If you or a loved one was injured due to a medical mistake or error, the doctors and hospital will not give you honest answers about what went wrong. All you want is the truth and we will get it for you.
Our medical malpractice lawyers work hard to hold medical professionals accountable for the harm to patients caused by their negligence.
When you choose us as your law firm, we will get all of your medical records and review them to see if a medical error or mistake caused a serious injury or death. We will also speak with highly respected board-certified physicians and medical experts about your care.
If we can prove that you or someone you care about was the victim of medical negligence, we will file a lawsuit for you. Malpractice lawsuits seek settlements for patients harmed by medical negligence.
For cases involving a patient’s death, we file a wrongful death lawsuit for the surviving family members to seek justice and compensation for their losses.
Why You Should Choose Us for Your Malpractice Case
When you hire the Buckfire Law Firm for your case, you are getting a great team of attorneys on your side.
We have been winning cases in Michigan since the firm was started in 1969. We have earned the top awards in the legal profession and are recognized as legal experts in medical malpractice cases.
- The Best Lawyers in America
- U.S. News Best Law Firm
- Super Lawyers
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers
- A.V. Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
We will represent you under our No Fee Promise. There is no up-front money and we do not charge any legal fees whatsoever unless you get a settlement. We also pay all of the case expenses.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice, also called medical negligence, is when a hospital, clinic, doctor, nurse or other health care professional fails to provide appropriate medical care to a patient.
The negligence could be an error or mistake in the diagnosis, treatment, surgery, or management of the patient. This includes surgical mistakes, anesthesia errors, medication mistakes, or harm caused by a misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose a serious medical condition.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
There are many types of medical malpractice and medical negligence lawsuits, including:
Medical Malpractice Statistics
More than 250,000 Americans die each year as the result of medical errors, according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The study suggests medical errors rank as the third leading cause of non-violent death — behind heart disease and cancer — in the United States.
According to the American Medical Association (AMA), surgeons and obstetricians-gynecologists are sued the most often on medical malpractice lawsuits.
It was found that pediatricians and psychiatrists were sued the least in malpractice suits. Below is a list of suits by doctor specialties and least in descending order from the highest percentage to the lowest percentage sued.
- Obstetrics-gynecology (OB/GYN)
- General surgery
- Surgical subspecialties
- Emergency medicine
- Internal medicine subspecialties (cardiology, nephrology, endocrinology)
- Other specialties (dermatology, ophthalmology)
- General and family practice
- General internal medicine
Between 2009-2018, there were only 13 states that ranked higher than Michigan for medical malpractice payment settlements. In that period, the amount of $ 697,320,000 was paid out to patients.
What are Michigan Laws on Medical Malpractice?
Michigan has several state statutes the deal with lawsuits involving medical malpractice.
The laws provide very specific requirements for the filing of a complaint (MCL 600.2912d) and even the steps needed before a lawsuit is filed (MCL 600.2912B). In addition, laws are established by cases and legal precedents decided by the courts based upon interpretation of these laws.
These laws are very rigid and must be strictly complied with in order to file a case in the courts. They include requirements for sending out a Notice of Intent to Sue more than six months before a lawsuit can be filed with the court, the requirements expert witnesses, and other required procedures.
Do I Have a Case for Medical Malpractice?
Doctors and hospitals will rarely if ever, admit that they are guilty of medical negligence.
The only way to know if you have a medical malpractice case is to have your records reviewed by an experienced law firm that specializes in these cases. Buckfire Law has more than 50 years of experience.
Our attorneys will get your records, review them with our in-house medical team, and then discuss your case with our medical experts.
After the review is complete, we will know if you have a meritorious case to file in court. We will then let you know if you have a medical malpractice case.
What Qualifies for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
A medical malpractice lawsuit is when a case is actually filed at the courthouse alleging medical negligence by a doctor, hospital, clinic, or nurse.
The lawsuit, called the Complaint, states the history of the treatment, the medical basis for alleging negligent care, and an explanation of the damages claimed in the suit. It must have an Affidavit of Merit attached from a qualified physician supporting the case.
This legal pleading is served on all defendants who must then answer the allegations in their own legal pleading filed with the court. This is the beginning of the litigation process.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?
Proving a case for medical malpractice requires more than finding that a medical error was made or that a patient had a poor outcome.
A bad result alone does not support a finding of malpractice.
Under Michigan law, the main factors you need to prove a medical malpractice case are:
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship (or hospital, urgent care, or clinic)
- That the medical care or treatment provided was below the acceptable standard of care, including the failure to make a medical diagnosis or provide necessary treatment for a condition.
- That the alleged negligence caused injury, harm, or death to the patient
- The patient (or estate) suffered quantifiable harm as a result of medical malpractice, which would include pain and suffering, disability, loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses and other economic harm.
It is necessary to prove all of these factors to win your case.
If a doctor made a mistake but it did not result in harm to the patient, then a case cannot be filed under the law. Or, if a patient suffered harm during a medical procedure but it was not caused by a medical error, then a medical malpractice case cannot be filed.
Hospitals and doctors defend every factor of a case to defeat your claim so it is essential that there is a legal and medical basis to prove every element.
Can I Sue a Doctor for Medical Negligence?
You can sue a doctor for medical malpractice if the physician failed to properly diagnose a condition, treat a condition, or refer you to the appropriate medical specialist and it resulted in serious injury or death.
If the doctor was employed by a hospital system or if the malpractice occurred while you were in the hospital, you may also be able to include the hospital as a defendant in the lawsuit.
In most cases, you can sue a hospital for medical malpractice if the negligence was committed by a hospital employee or agent. This includes staff physicians, nurses, and other employees at the hospital.
A hospital is generally liable for the negligence of its employees.
Many times, a doctor or surgeon is not employed by the hospital and is either an independent contractor or just using the facility to treat their own patients. In these cases, the hospital may argue that it is not responsible for the negligent care provided by a non-hospital employee in their own facility.
A judge or jury will have to decide if the hospital is responsible to the patient in these circumstances.
How Do I Find Out if My Doctor Has Been Sued for Medical Malpractice?
Unfortunately, there is no public database available to find out if your doctor has been sued for medical malpractice in the past. This would be great information to know before you chose a physician, especially for an important necessary or elective surgery.
One way to find out is to search the case listings at the courthouse in the counties where the doctor currently practices or has practiced in the past.
Many courts now give you the ability to search case listings online by a party’s name, so you can search for the name of the physician.
Another way to find out is by consulting with a malpractice attorney who may have sued the same doctor in the past or knows of a previous lawsuit filed against the doctor.
Michigan Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations, or time limit, to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Michigan is generally two years from the date of the injury. There are some exceptions to this deadline for cases involving minors and those involving the death of the patient.
There is also the very limited discovery rule, which may extend the filing date if the medical negligence was discovered after the two-year period.
How Long Does it Take for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
The actual medical malpractice lawsuit takes around one and a half to two years to complete from the time the Complaint is filed at the court until either the trial or settlement. However, the process often takes much longer because it can take many months to get all of your medical records and have them reviewed by a physician expert witness.
Once it has been determined that you have a valid case, Michigan law requires that a Notice of Intent to File Suit be sent to all negligent medical providers, including doctors and hospitals.
There is then a sixth-month waiting period set by law before the actual suit can be filed at the courthouse. After the lawsuit is filed, the process can often take up to two years but many cases are settled sooner.
Do Most Medical Malpractice Cases Settle or Go to Trial?
The majority of medical malpractice cases settle before a trial. Statistics show that more than 90% of lawsuits settle before a trial. This is for several reasons.
First, the requirements for filing a case are very strict and therefore most cases have merit.
Second, the cost of going through a trial is very high and can take several weeks or more from start to finish.
Third, although the defendants win most cases that do go to trial, the jury verdicts against them often exceed one million dollars.
Therefore, the costs and risks of going through a trial are significant and it is often beneficial to the medical provider and insurance company to settle before a trial.
How Much Can you Get for a Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
In Michigan, there are damage limits (or caps) on the amount of compensation that you can receive in a case. These damage caps do not include medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, or other economic losses that can be added to the damages limit to determine how much you can get in your lawsuit.
Many times, the economic losses caused by medical negligence are substantial and this can increase the settlement amount by millions of dollars.
What is the Average Settlement for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
There is no “average settlement” for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The settlement amount depends on a large number of factors and they vary from case to case. These factors include the degree to which you can prove medical negligence, whether you can prove negligence caused a serious injury and the type of harm caused by the medical error.
When it comes to damages, the settlement amount takes into consideration the permanency of the injury, whether there has been a loss of income or earning capacity, and the amount of the medical expenses incurred due to the malpractice.
Another important factor includes the venue, or location, of the lawsuit. Juries in certain counties regularly award fewer money damages than other counties. This is often a major consideration in determining the settlement.
Finally, the attorney representing you is often the biggest factor in your settlement amount. The best attorneys get their clients the highest settlements through their skill, hard work, and experience.
Choosing the right lawyer is the most important decision you will make for your case.
How are Settlements Determined?
The amount of a medical malpractice settlement depends on the strength of the evidence in proving the required legal factors for a case.
Cases with the most significant injuries, or death, have the highest settlement amounts. Cases with significant economic loss, such as loss of income or large medical expenses have a higher settlement value or result in larger jury verdicts.
There is no set guideline or formula to determine the amount of a settlement. It is the experience of a skilled attorney that can determine the fair settlement based upon the factors needed to prove and win a case.
Other factors include the insurance policy limits of the doctor, the severity of the injuries, and the county where the lawsuit was filed. Hospitals and insurance companies evaluate the same factors when deciding if they want to settle a lawsuit or take it to trial.
Examples of Michigan Malpractice Settlements
- $9,000,000 settlement for a patient who suffered severe hypoxic encephalopathy in a hospital.
- $4,500,000 settlement against a hospital and OBGYN for a birth injury resulting in cerebral palsy.
- $4,100,000 settlement against a hospital for a surgical error causing severe complications.
- $3,750,000 settlement for a teenager not properly supervised in the suicide wing of a hospital.
- $3,500,000 settlement against a Detroit area hospital for the wrongful death of a patient.
- $3,500,000 settlement for a spinal cord injury caused in surgery and resulted in paralysis.
- $3,100,000 stroke malpractice settlement for emergency room physician negligence.
- $2,500,000 medication mistake settlement that caused permanent brain damage.
- $2,400,000.00 settlement for failing to diagnose a bowel obstruction in a 6-year-old.
- $1,750,000 jury verdict against a Detroit hospital for surgery errors causing brain damage.
How Much do Lawyers Charge for Medical Malpractice Cases?
At the Buckfire Law Firm, we will represent you under our No-Fee Promise, which means we will pay for the full investigation of your case and only charge a fee if you receive a settlement. This also called a “contingency fee agreement” and is preferred by clients due to the significant cost of pursuing a claim.
If your case is unsuccessful and you do not receive a settlement, then you owe us nothing.
Finding the Best Lawyer for your Case
You definitely will want to find the best lawyer to handle your case. The lawyer you choose is the biggest factor in winning your malpractice lawsuit.
Our award-winning lawyers have received the top awards in the legal profession for both skill and integrity. We regularly win among the highest settlements in Michigan every year.
Call us now to learn more about our law firm and to find out how we can help you. We are friendly and eager to hear your story so we can start working on your case immediately.