Frequently Asked Questions
When a patient suffers as a result of medical malpractice, it is often a struggle to find the answers they need to the questions they may have regarding what happened and what they can do about it. For this reason, the medical malpractice lawyers of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, conveniently located in Boston but serving all of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, have created this list of frequently asked questions and their answers to help those in this difficult situation get the information they need.
If you can’t find the answers you need here or if you’d like to discuss your case in further detail with a qualified member of our legal team, contact our offices today at (617) 426-4488.
- Can I sue again if I didn’t get the amount of compensation I wanted?
- Do I need to gather any information myself?
- How do I stay in touch with my attorney during my case?
- How long will it take for my case to be completed?
- How much compensation will I receive?
- How much of my time will this take?
- I was injured at a concert, do I have a claim?
- If I have a claim, how long will it take?
- If my doctor failed to perform a Cesarean Section when it was necessary, may I file suit?
- If there was lead in a toy, should I sue?
- Is it ever too late to bring a claim?
- Should a lifeguard be held accountable for my child’s pool injury?
- Should I ask for more compensation than I need?
- Should I just pay for costs myself if I’m able to?
- Was I the victim of construction site negligence?
- What about expenses?
- What actions qualify as medical malpractice?
- What do I have to actually do during a lawsuit?
- What if an insurance company or an investigator contacts me?
- What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
- What if I’m not sure malpractice occurred?
- What if my diagnosis was delayed?
- What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
- What is fetal heart monitoring?
- What is informed consent?
- What should I ask an attorney I might hire?
- What should I do if I’ve been injured?
- What types of compensation can I seek?
- What’s one of the biggest mistakes people make in asking for compensation?
- Which birth injuries might a lawsuit cover?
- Who is at fault for my injuries and losses?
- Why should I bring a personal injury claim?
- Will I have to go to court?
- Will I hurt the person I’m suing by bringing a personal injury claim?
Can I sue again if I didn’t get the amount of compensation I wanted?
In short, no. You will not be able to bring the same charges against the defendant that you did previously if you have been awarded compensation for that case already. This is a very common issue for a lot of people, especially those that do not realize how much compensation they actually need or unaware of what costs they can actually pursue compensation for.
Do I need to gather any information myself?
Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, will request all of the medical records and other information necessary to evaluate and pursue your case. However, you can help by saving any papers or things that are related to your claim. These might include copies of any medical records and correspondence concerning your injury; appointment calendars showing important dates; notes or tape recordings of conversations or other events; emails and voice mails or phone messages; photographs and videotapes of injuries and accident scenes; a product that caused injury; and instruction sheets, warnings or discharge instructions that you receive. It is particularly important for you to save “original” items that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Over the course of time, memories may fade, and documents may be lost or altered, and so your “originals” may become a very important part of your case. We recommend that you get a large envelope or a box and simply add important documents or photographs to it as you find them.
How do I stay in touch with my attorney during my case?
You and your attorney should establish your preferred method of communication early in your personal injury case. This is one of the first things you can establish when you’re hiring a lawyer. Many attorneys are available via phone far more often than they can meet in person, and some lawyers prefer to correspond via email. In any case, you will have discuss and agree with your lawyer about the method of communication that you both prefer.
Every attorney stays in touch with clients in different ways, but this is one of the most important initial questions you can ask your prospective attorney in an early interview. If it’s important to you that you speak with your lawyer about your case every week, every two weeks, once a month, etc., you should make that concern clear before you hire that particular attorney. It’s important to find an attorney whose schedule and practice fits your needs. So depending on how often and in what format you would like to speak, you should make your concerns clear.
How long will it take for my case to be completed?
It is almost impossible to give an exact estimate of how long a particular case will take, because so much depends on individual circumstances. Some factors that can make a case take longer, though, might include the need to collect evidence, giving personal testimony/finding witnesses, denial of a claim by the defendant, delays in judgment, and more. Though an exact timeline for your case is impossible to give right now, the best way to assess approximately how long it may take for the entire process to be completed is to talk with an experienced attorney from Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, who can evaluate the details with you.
How much compensation will I receive?
Because every lawsuit is different, based on varying circumstances of both accident and damage, it is difficult to estimate the amount of compensation one person might receive if he or she is successful with a personal injury lawsuit. However, in general, the compensation you receive is meant to cover the expenses that you have incurred as a result of your injury, so it largely depends on the amount of costs you have, among other factors.
The best way to estimate the amount of compensation that you will receive is through a discussion of your case with your attorney.
How much of my time will this take?
Most of our clients are busy dealing with the consequences of what has happened to them, so we at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, work hard to make the process as easy as possible for you. In the typical personal injury case, you would be required to come to the office for an initial interview, and perhaps two or three times more to answer written and oral questions about what happened to you. Aside from these questions, which are a routine part of the court process, very little of your time will be required unless the case goes to court. We also ask that you let us know if there are significant changes in your family or medical situation that might affect your case.
I was injured at a concert, do I have a claim?
It depends on the nature of your injury. If the property on which the concert was held was unsafe, causing your injury, then you could be eligible to file a premises liability claim. One example of this would be a stage collapse that resulted in your injury. Because property owners must ensure that their properties, and any structures on their properties, are safe, you could be due financial compensation if it was inherent safety problems at the concert venue that caused you harm. The best way to know if you have a claim is to discuss your case with an experienced Massachusetts attorney from Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, who is experienced with premises liability.
If I have a claim, how long will it take?
The initial evaluation of a claim usually takes a month or so, except for medical malpractice claims, which may take three to six months. After a lawsuit is filed, the length of time depends on how crowded the court calendar is, and whether the insurance company is willing to settle the claim before trial. Most cases take between one and four years to complete.
If my doctor failed to perform a Cesarean Section when it was necessary, may I file suit?
While it is difficult to say without the particulars of any given case, when necessary Cesarean sections are not performed and the child or mother suffers as a result, the responsible practitioner may likely be held responsible. When a child cannot be safely delivered via a natural delivery, Cesarean sections offer a safe alternative. The lawyers at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, understand how devastating a birth injury can be for a family and we pursue those responsible for medical malpractice in the civil court system.
If there was lead in a toy, should I sue?
Lead-based toys are extremely dangerous, and even a small amount of lead product in a toy can be unsafe, especially if ingested. If your child was hurt because of a toy that had lead in it, it is possible that you can sue the toy manufacturer to hold it accountable for that product and the consequences. However, knowing whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit against the toy manufacturer can be difficult, causing many people to seek the legal help and guidance of a knowledgeable lawyer.
Is it ever too late to bring a claim?
There are statutes of limitations, which limit the time for bringing claims. For most claims, these statutes of limitations may be as short as three years, although there are several exceptions and notice requirements that may be shorter or longer. You should consult a lawyer as soon as you are aware that you have been injured. Even if you were injured some time ago, you may still be able to bring a claim.
Should a lifeguard be held accountable for my child’s pool injury?
It depends. Not every swimming pool guarantees that its lifeguards are responsible for the safety of children, and not every pool even has a lifeguard. Typically some sort of negligence on the behalf of the lifeguard or the pool’s manager must have occurred to be able to hold them accountable for the injury. Premises liability cases such as this can be difficult to understand, so the best way to know what your legal options are to discuss the particulars with an experienced personal injury attorney from Crowe & Mulvey, LLP.
Should I ask for more compensation than I need?
It’s not the best idea to exaggerate your financial need after an accident. If there is proof of an exaggerated claim in a personal injury case, then you are more likely to suffer from not winning your case at all. It’s always a good idea to discuss with your attorney the amount of compensation you think you will need, and then to discuss how best to pursue that specific amount in court.
Should I just pay for costs myself if I’m able to?
Some people are financially capable of covering the high costs of injury after being injured by another person, and don’t want to bother with the legal process. However, personal injury claims exist because your rights to personal safety should be respected. Thus, if another person has caused you harm due to their recklessness, then you should not have to suffer financially as well as physically. Even if you feel as if you could pay for the costs of an accident and injury, you should always at least discuss your options with an attorney in Massachusetts.
Was I the victim of construction site negligence?
You may have been. Construction site negligence takes many forms, but might manifest itself in the following ways:
- Leaving debris / obstructions in roadways or walkways
- Exposing passerby to toxic chemicals
- Failure to adhere to safety regulations
- Poor management of employees / failure to train employees
- Failure to cover manholes
- Failure to repair damages to roadways or walkways
If you think that you have been the victim of construction site negligence, speak with a personal injury attorney about your situation.
What about expenses?
There are certain expenses, such as court costs and expert witness fees, involved in bringing a personal injury claim. Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, will pay these expenses as the case proceeds. You do not have to reimburse us for these costs until the conclusion of the case, if and when money is recovered for your claim. If there is no recovery, Crowe & Mulvey, LLP will not ask you to reimburse these expenses. Unlike some firms, we do not ask you to pay a retainer to cover initial costs.
What actions qualify as medical malpractice?
There are many different behaviors that could constitute medical malpractice, but most of them fall within one of several broad categories. These categories include:
- Surgical errors
- Delayed / Incorrect diagnosis
- Birth injuries
- Wrongful death incidents
- Hospital negligence
- Emergency room error
- Pharmaceutical mistakes
These categories generally encompass the most common incidents of medical malpractice. But even if you have a claim that perhaps doesn’t fit these categories, you should still discuss your legal options with an attorney in Massachusetts that’s familiar with medical malpractice law.
What do I have to actually do during a lawsuit?
Your particular role you play in your lawsuit will be determined on a case by case basis, so it is hard to say exactly what you will have to do during your lawsuit. Sometimes plaintiffs have to give personal testimony about their medical malpractice claims; others have to provide physical evidence that proves that malpractice was involved in an injury. In any case, you should speak with your attorney about your expectations and maintain contact during all parts of the lawsuit so as to clarify what your actions should be.
The most successful way to know what you need to do or will be required to do for your lawsuit is to talk about it with your lawyer.
What if an insurance company or an investigator contacts me?
You should not discuss your injury or the way in which it happened with anyone until you have consulted a lawyer. The statements you make might be incorrect, incomplete, or taken out of context, and may become harmful to your case at a later date. Do not file any written reports or descriptions, sign any papers, or agree to any settlement, as this could affect your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries.
To learn more about what you should or should not do following an accident, contact the personal injury lawyers of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, by calling (617) 426-4488 today.
What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
We understand that most people who have suffered a serious injury or death in the family cannot afford to pay hourly legal fees or large expenses. Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, represents all of its clients on a contingent-fee basis. If we accept your case, you pay no legal fees or expenses unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. If no money is recovered, you owe nothing. Unlike some other firms, Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, will not expect you to pay a retainer or to bear any costs associated with the evaluation of your claim. If we review your claim, and decide that we cannot represent you, you owe us nothing. You will only pay us if and when you receive compensation for your injuries.
What if I’m not sure malpractice occurred?
You’re not alone. Filing a legal claim seems daunting, and many people shy away from pursuing legal action because they are unsure if they have a claim or not. But you can always discuss your situation with an attorney that is familiar with medical malpractice. In many cases, some form of negligence or recklessness occurred at the hands of a doctor, nurse, surgeon, hospital staff member, or other person affiliated with the medical institution, and you should not have to tolerate this negligence if your are injured as a result. An attorney from Crowe & Mulvey, LLP who is very experienced in handling such cases will be able to help you determine whether you have a valid claim or not, and at no initial cost to you.
What if my diagnosis was delayed?
Delayed diagnoses, unfortunately, affect thousands of people all across the United States and can leave victims with serious physical and financial consequences. Many conditions need to be diagnosed early in order to prevent future damages, and when a doctor is negligent, causing them to fail to diagnose a serious condition soon enough, a patient might face serious health problems. If this is the case, you may be able to take legal action against the medical professional.
If you or someone you love has been victimized by a doctor who failed to diagnose a serious physical condition, you might be eligible for financial compensation.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries are usually sustained when an individual’s head is struck by a sudden and strong force, or when an individual’s brain is pierced by an object. The serious neurological damage that results from these injuries is often life-changing and may become manifest in a number of different symptoms. While these injuries often result from serious car accidents, they may also result from medical malpractice. When medical malpractice results in a traumatic brain injury, victims may be eligible to seek compensation from the responsible hospital or practitioner.
What is fetal heart monitoring?
During labor and delivery, doctors monitor an unborn child’s heartbeat in order to ensure that the baby’s heart is functioning properly. When an irregularity is detected, doctors are able to promptly and accurately respond in order to care for the child. When the fetal heartbeat is not properly monitored, serious injuries could occur. As such, this oversight is a serious form of medical malpractice and individuals who are responsible for any birth injury as a result may be held financially responsible. At Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, our legal team understands how devastating a birth injury can be for families, and we are prepared to pursue those responsible in the civil court system.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent is a legal term which can be understood as a patient’s ability to provide consent to a medical procedure with the full knowledge necessary for an appropriate decision to be made. Patients who are not fully informed about various aspects of their treatment or procedure, such as alternative options or potential side effects and risks, may be entitled to seek compensation for any suffering resulting from the lack of information they received.
What should I ask an attorney I might hire?
When you are getting ready to hire legal representation for your personal injury case, you should always have several questions in mind to ask during your first legal consultation. While these may not be the only questions that you ask, they can get a conversation started and give you an idea of how well the attorney fits you and your case. You can ask things like how many cases the attorney has won that are similar to yours, how much the attorney charges, what enforcement policies the attorney has, and how long your case will take.
What should I do if I’ve been injured?
If you or someone in your family has been injured, you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible to see if you have a claim for personal injury. The cause of an injury may not always be obvious, and there may be one or more parties responsible.
What types of compensation can I seek?
Patients who have suffered as a result of medical malpractice may be entitled to seek compensation for a range of different costs that their losses may have caused. Some of the most common types of compensation that medical malpractice victims can receive include the costs of past and future medical expenses, income lost from time spent away from work, and pain and suffering.
What’s one of the biggest mistakes people make in asking for compensation?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when determining how much compensation to seek is to either ask for too little or too much. Asking for too little might make it more likely that you will be awarded money, but the amount may not be enough to cover the full cost of expenses, still leaving you with multiple expenses. On the other hand, asking for too much makes your claim seem exaggerated, and courts may be suspicious of the amount that you’re asking for. It’s always best to talk with your attorney about how much compensation that your case merits.
Which birth injuries might a lawsuit cover?
If your baby has suffered a birth injury at the hands of an irresponsible or reckless medical practitioner, you might be due financial compensation. Generally, a personal injury lawsuit will cover any type of birth injury, including injuries like cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, cephalohematoma, brain damage, spinal damage, and many others. To better understand if you can file a claim though, speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer.
To learn more about getting financial compensation after your baby has suffered a birth injury, contact the qualified Massachusetts medical malpractice attorneys of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, today by calling us at (617) 426-4488.
Who is at fault for my injuries and losses?
Patients who have been the victims of medical malpractice may find it difficult to determine who exactly should be held at fault for the losses and harm they have sustained. In many cases, the physician who provided the treatment may be directly responsible. However, there are also situations in which hospitals, emergency rooms, medical technicians, and a variety of other professionals may actually be the ones who are liable for damages.
If you would like to learn more about who may be at fault in your medical malpractice case, contact a Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, today by calling (617) 426-4488 to speak with a qualified member of our professional legal staff.
Why should I bring a personal injury claim?
If someone causes you harm, the law entitles you to compensation from those responsible for your injuries. In addition, by bringing a claim, you may help to prevent someone else from suffering the same type of injury. The experience of being sued may cause doctors to be more careful, manufacturers to make safer products, and businesses to employ better safety practices.
Will I have to go to court?
You will not have to go to court unless your case cannot be settled and must be tried. The vast majority of claims are settled before trial; however, because of the many factors involved, it is impossible to predict whether your particular case will settle or will be decided by a jury.
Will I hurt the person I’m suing by bringing a personal injury claim?
Almost all personal injury claims are defended by insurance company lawyers and paid by insurance, so the person or corporation you sue will not have to pay any money out-of-pocket. A personal injury claim is a civil case, not a criminal case, and the defendant will not go to jail because of the claim.
To discuss your situation in further detail, contact the personal injury attorneys of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, at (617) 426-4488.