Frequently Asked Questions

How are you paid your attorney fees when representing me in a personal injury or death claim?

We work on a contingency fee basis. We do not charge an hourly fee for the attorney’s time, but a percentage of any settlement or verdict we obtain on your behalf. The percentage depends upon the type and complexity of the case. If we do not obtain a settlement or verdict on the client’s behalf we have never asked the client to pay us back expenses.

How long will it take to conclude my case?

This is a difficult question to answer because it varies depending on the complexity of the case and if the case goes into litigation. Court dockets and schedules of attorneys and witnesses play a role. Also, it takes time in some cases for the medical providers and client to know the final outcome of their injuries with associated medical bills and other economic losses.

Where do you practice law? We are licensed in Missouri and Illinois. On occasion we will handle cases in other jurisdictions but with special permission from the court and with the use of local counsel.

What records will you need?

I will need copies of medical bills or other economic losses, photographs of the accident scene, damage, dangerous condition, or anything else involved in your claim to help prove your case, witness statements, (names, addresses, and telephone numbers).

Do cases settle out of court?

Yes, but some have to “go to court”. Some can be resolved sooner than others depending on the complexity of the case.

What are common mistakes made by my doctor or occur at the hospital?

After more than twenty-five years of handling medical malpractice cases – we see doctors and hospital personnel making the same mistakes that result in injury or death to their patients. Here is a partial list of common medical mistakes:

  1. Failure to timely diagnose a medical condition. Often times, either a simple test such as an x-ray or blood work or careful physical examination would have made the diagnosis. Many times the lab data or x-rays are misread or misinterpreted, or worse, ignored.
  2. Inattention – From simply failing to heed a patient’s complaints or failing to turn on the oxygen during surgery, or administer the medicine correctly- inattention is a prime cause for a medical malpractice claim.
  3. Failure to follow a doctor’s order – hospital personnel sometimes will forget to put up bed rails – leading to a patient’s fall out of bed, or deliver the wrong medicine, or fail to call a physician when a patient’s complaints or illness worsens.
  4. Failure to timely treat a medical condition, from withholding a needed antibiotic or other prescription, to delaying a necessary surgery.
  5. Failure to perform a timely c-section during the labor and delivery process. A number of sophisticated monitoring techniques are available to tell medical personnel if the fetus is in trouble and needs to be delivered more expeditiously, usually by an emergency c-section, to avoid brain injury to the child.
  6. Surgery gone wrong: Routine surgery where sponges, clamps, needles or surgical instruments are left in the patient, or where non involved patient organs are wrongfully damaged. Although after the filing of many lawsuits for medical negligence the medical profession has paid more attention to their patients, many cases still continue to occur. The famous Harvard study has pointed out that the actual claims and suits for medical malpractice are just the “tip of the iceberg” of all the malpractice that occurs.

Why are experts needed in medical negligence or malpractice cases?

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, medical experts are critical for the proper presentation and outcome of a case.

Why? In order to prove that a doctor or nurse or other health care provider is negligent, the law requires the injured party (the plaintiff) to call qualified experts to testify that the defendant healthcare provider failed to act in accordance with standard medical practice.
The medical expert needs to be persuasive, and base his opinions on sound medical principles. Supporting medical textbooks and articles are always very helpful. The jury, after hearing from the plaintiff’s experts, and then the defense experts, will decide who should win the case. Often the medical malpractice case turns on a “battle of the experts”.

However, in some cases, our experts advise that no deviation from accepted practice by a potential defendant occurred, or that an adverse result is due to a complication or disease process, without fault on the part of anyone. In those situations, we are unable to prove medical negligence.