What is the #1 factor in evaluating a medical malpractice case?

Throughout the course of a day, I receive phone calls from potential clients who often convey stories of human suffering. At the end of the first few minutes of the conversation, I often interrupt and ask, "How are you doing now?" The response that I get is often, "Great!", and the potential client will explain how his botched knee replacement was fixed after three operations by the world's greatest orthopedic surgeon. This usually ends our conversation and then I have to explain why.

Medical malpractice litigation is extremely expensive (when done right) with case expenses usually running at a minimum of $20,000 to a high of $175,000. Because of the high cost of malpractice litigation, I cannot accept cases involving temporary injuries, even when those injuries are substantial. The cost of litigation would exceed the value of the case and thus render the lawsuit ineffectual for the client. Remember, the goal of the lawsuit is to put money in the client's pocket.

When I explain to the potential client that I cannot accept cases involving temporary injuries, he/she will then respond, "So the doctor gets away with murder?" The answer is "no", because litigation is not the only way to hold the negligent physician accountable for medical errors. I explain the procedure for filing a complaint with the New York State Department of Health and I e-mail my book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims", which explains the procedures of the Department of Health for investigating medical mistakes. I explain to the potential client that he/she should pursue a complaint with the Department of Health and if the complaint is validated by the DOH, the doctor's medical license can be suspended, limited and in very rare cases, revoked.

Many potential clients are unhappy with my advice, but you know what, I don't care. My job is to be ruthless in selecting cases that have significant, disabling injuries that will last a life-time. Most clients appreciate my candor and move on by calling the next lawyer on their list. That's fine with me.