How often does the Plaintiff win in a Medical Malpractice Trial?

by Chris Kuhlman on July 27, 2015

While newspaper headlines of million dollar jury verdicts draw a great deal of attention, the majority of Plaintiffs in medical malpractice trials actually lose their cases and receive nothing.  In fact, on average, when a medical malpractice case proceeds to trial, a plaintiff has roughly a 25% chance of winning the case, which is half that of any other tort case.

This low likelihood of victory at trial is why there are fewer attorneys who actually handle Plaintiffs’ medical malpractice cases and why they generally charge a slightly larger contingency fee rate than a standard personal injury case.

There are many theories as to why victims of medical malpractice have such a difficulty of prevailing at trial.  Some people believe that juries put a lot of trust and faith into doctors and modern medicine and have difficulty accepting that a doctor could cause such drastic harm to anyone by departing from the proper standard of care.

Other people believe that one of the reason Plaintiffs have difficulty winning medical malpractice cases is because some juries may be intimidated when asked to dissect the complex medical evidence and testimony presented at trial and, out of confusion or caution, side with the doctor or Defendant.

To combat this problem, a good Plaintiff’s attorney should take care to carefully guide the jury through the medical evidence in a manner so that they can clearly understand it and recognize how the doctor departed from the standard of care in the particular case at hand.

To aid the jury in their understanding of the medicine, a Plaintiff should present doctor witnesses (expert witnesses) at trial competent in the field of medicine at issue.  These expert witnesses should be able to fully explain to the jury the medicine or medical procedure at issue.  Instead of just focusing on the expert witnesses’ resume and credentials, a good medical malpractice attorney advocating for victims should also make sure that the expert witness doctor is capable of and willing to break down the medicine for the non-physician jurors so that they can understand key concepts and appreciate what truly happened and how it harmed the patient.

If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, it is important to speak with a medical malpractice attorney immediately.  A Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer can help you to navigate the pitfalls of litigation and prepare your case in a manner that increases your chance of prevailing at trial.

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