Guilt Over Suing Your Doctor

An older man sits on his couch and holds his chin with a sad face, feeling guilt over suing his doctor in a medical malpractice case.

“We aren’t the type of people to file a malpractice lawsuit.”

Nearly every client who comes into our office tells us they are not the type of people to file a lawsuit. However, after their lives have been changed by medical malpractice, they often feel like they have no choice.

Victims of malpractice, or suspected malpractice, may fail to investigate whether they have a valid medical negligence lawsuit because they feel guilty about suing their doctor. As attorneys who represent patients injured by negligent physicians and health care providers, we counsel our clients on handling these complicated emotions and deciding whether to pursue a malpractice case.

What does a malpractice lawsuit mean for my doctor?

Your doctor can immediately contact their medical malpractice insurance provider in the event of a lawsuit. Most doctors carry medical malpractice insurance to protect them in case they provide negligent care. Once a lawsuit has been filed, the insurance company will assign a lawyer to represent the doctor’s interests and defend them in a lawsuit. A doctor may have a deductible for his insurance, but in most cases, their financial impact is minimal.

If there is a substantial jury verdict over the doctor’s malpractice policy limits, the doctor may be financially responsible for the excess verdict. However, doctors have the right to demand that their insurance companies pay policy limits to settle a case and protect them from an excess verdict. If an excess verdict is obtained, it is up to the client and their attorney to attempt to collect on verdicts above their insurance policy limits.

What happens with a malpractice lawsuit in Missouri? 

Depending on the state, lawsuits may be reported to the state’s board of healing arts or its equivalent organization that oversees the state’s licensing of doctors. In Missouri, it is common for the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts to send correspondence and inquire about the facts and circumstances surrounding the physician’s lawsuit and additionally, ask for a narrative about the case. The doctor may be called to respond in person – resulting in a further case investigation. For example, the Board may hire an independent physician expert to review the doctor’s care in a case. However, it is extremely rare that these inquiries result in any punishment for the defendant doctor.

Since a doctor’s data in Missouri is not public, it is difficult to know how many lawsuits result in sanctions or disciplinary action. According to current data, the rate of discipline for doctors in Missouri is very low, even compared to national averages. Therefore, it is very unlikely that any single lawsuit will cause your doctor to lose his or her job or have his or her medical practice restricted in any way.

Because of the somewhat lax oversight on physician negligence by state boards, filing a lawsuit may be the only way to hold a doctor accountable for his or her negligent treatment. Our attorneys also seek to determine whether processes at physician’s offices and hospitals have changed because of the events in question.

What does a malpractice case mean for me and my family?

Doctors may be upset like any person involved in a lawsuit. However, when considering the emotional effect of a lawsuit on a doctor, we always remind our clients or potential clients to consider how their doctor’s negligence affected their lives.

During a lawsuit, our clients are expected to cooperate with us in all avenues of discovery. This may include providing us with important documents, answering questions, and offering testimony through a deposition and at a trial. Although litigation can be invasive and stressful, our attorneys and paralegals guide you through the process to make it as easy as possible. Our goal at the end of the litigation is to provide our clients with answers and to obtain compensation for our clients to help them move forward.

If you have experienced medical malpractice, connect with one of our medical malpractice attorneys to determine your options.

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.

Contact Zevan Murphy today.

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