Medical Record Review
The claims evaluation process is seemingly simple. Our attorneys review the medical records to determine if we believe there might be medical malpractice with consequent serious injuries or death. Because neither a judge nor the VA cares one iota about what lawyers think about the matter, if the case appears to involve medical malpractice with serious or deadly harm, we then send the records to the appropriate medical expert(s) to get an expert opinion on the merits of the claims.
It is surprising how often we are wrong and the medical expert indicates that there was no medical malpractice and/or the injuries were not related to the medical malpractice. This has happened on cases with catastrophic or deadly consequences where the negligence seemed indisputable. To this day, there are several that we are still shaking our heads about.
However, we have learned by trial and error not to go against our expert. Going against our experts has led to rather disheartening outcomes for both our firm and our client. As such, we do not go against our expert.
Case Criteria: Risks, Costs, and Possible Compensation to the Veteran
As suggested above, medical malpractice claims are generally very difficult, expensive and risky for attorneys to pursue. This is never truer than in cases against the VA because of very strict and low attorney fee limitations. The allowable fees are about one-half the typical fee charged by medical malpractice attorneys making it doubly important to carefully screen cases.
This means that many veterans with valid claims may have trouble finding an attorney to take on the claims. Attorneys must review the case in terms of not just the presence of medical malpractice but also the degree of injuries and other losses. It may sound callous but unfortunately the cases must be reviewed in terms of costs necessary to pursue the claims, the risks of losing and the possible compensation to the veteran which in turn dictates the compensation to the attorney. Cases that do not involve very serious injuries or death in all but very rare cases are difficult to justify in terms of these considerations.
Medical Records are Necessary for both Attorney and Expert Case Evaluation
As mentioned above, it is absolutely essential that all relevant medical records are available for review by the attorney and then the expert. As also suggested, in cases involving multiple medical providers other than the VA, this can be both cumbersome and expensive.
In those cases, Collins & Collins, P.C. may depending upon what the available records show require that the veteran or family pay for the costs of the records collection in advance.
Collins & Collins, P.C. – Strict Case Review
ts There must be clear medical malpractice along with serious injuries or death. Due to the costs, time and risks associated with medical malpractice claims, there is simply no way to get the strict screening of cases.