Frequently Asked Questions
Hensley Cloninger, P.C., understands that you have questions about your serious personal injury case. Lawyers and staff here strive to answer every question asked, but some clients may feel more comfortable looking for answers on their own. Please find below some of the most common questions on medical malpractice and personal injury cases and corresponding answers.
- Who is liable for medical malpractice and who can sue for compensation?
- Is medical negligence common?
- How do I prove my case?
- How will I pay for your time and expenses?
- What expenses are involved?
- Should I provide a statement to an insurance company without a lawyer’s help?
- What determines the amount I might recover?
Helping You Make A Financial Recovery For Your Injuries
Any medical/healthcare professional, including a physician, nurse, therapist, pharmacist or another provider, who has caused injury to a patient because of professional negligence or substandard care may be named as a defendant.
Also, the professional’s employer – hospital, HMO, professional corporation, etc. – can be sued.
A patient injured due to medical negligence – or a family member if the victim is unable – can file suit. When someone dies as a result of medical negligence, the patient’s family may sue for wrongful death.
Yes, more than you know. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates there are up to 98,000 deaths a year from malpractice in hospitals alone, plus the thousands of malpractice deaths outside hospitals, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of injuries from malpractice per year in the United States.
But only a tiny percentage of malpractice victims or their survivors ever make a claim or file a lawsuit for the injuries or deaths. In North Carolina, you have just three years from the date of the action or inaction that caused your injury, or two years from the date of the discovery of the injury. These laws and cases are complex, and the sooner you engage an experienced medical malpractice attorney, the better your chances are to recover compensation.
A plaintiff in a medical negligence case must establish through evidence that:
- The plaintiff was entitled to a reasonable standard of care
- The defendant was negligent (rendered substandard care)
- The negligence was a proximate cause of injuries
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
All four elements must be proven.
Hensley Cloninger, P.C., has a nurse on staff who can help evaluate your case, and the firm consults licensed doctors who are familiar with the standard of accepted medical care for the medical specialty involved. Their expert testimony is almost always required to prove negligence and causation of damages by defining the standards, how the defendant violated them, and the damage caused by the substandard care.
At Hensley Cloninger, P.C., we handle personal injury and medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee agreement. Our firm receives a percentage of the financial recovery made by the client as a result of the prosecution of the case. We generally do not expect the client to pay any of the expenses of developing the case until a recovery is made. Expenses are reimbursed from the settlement. In the event no recovery is realized, we do not typically expect the client to repay the out-of-pocket costs for developing the case.
The prosecution of a medical malpractice case is expensive. Our attorneys must obtain all the medical records and hire experts. They must conduct depositions, usually across the country, with substantial court reporter fees required. Time must be dedicated with our paid experts to creating strategies and preparing for court. The investment also includes costs for exhibits and technology to fully demonstrate our clients’ devastating injuries. These are the major expenses.
It is in your best interest to provide only your contact information to an insurance company until you consult with a lawyer. The more significant your injuries, the more imperative it becomes to seek legal counsel before providing any statement.
Many factors determine how much compensation you may receive, including the severity of your injuries, your past medical history, and the amount of insurance coverage that the responsible person or company has.
Every case addresses three issues:
- Liability – establishing someone’s negligence
- Damages – the amount that will fairly and adequately compensate you for your injuries
- Source of collection – insurance or other assets from which damages can be recovered
An experienced personal injury lawyer reviews and interprets your case information to determine the appropriate value for your claim:
The goal is fair and adequate compensation for your injury. An experienced attorney at Hensley Cloninger, P.C., will know what a reasonable jury would award. The strength of eyewitness and expert witness testimony will likely influence the amount.