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Can't get a lawyer

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AnotherAllan

New member
What is the name of your state? New Jersey
I've contacted 4 law firms about a medical malpractice against a major hospital ER dept, but none will consider reviewing my case.
The 4th law firm, after some begging, said that even if they win the case they won't make enough for it to be worth their time.
I'm 60, so there are not decades of lost wages to be recovered or the expense of young children to be raised.

Any advice on how I could get a lawfirm to take my case?
 


adjusterjack

Senior Member
Make a lot more phone calls.

Meantime, how about telling us what the malpractice was and how it harmed you.

Maybe there is a reason for them turning you down.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
What is the name of your state? New Jersey
I've contacted 4 law firms about a medical malpractice against a major hospital ER dept, but none will consider reviewing my case.
The 4th law firm, after some begging, said that even if they win the case they won't make enough for it to be worth their time.
I'm 60, so there are not decades of lost wages to be recovered or the expense of young children to be raised.

Any advice on how I could get a lawfirm to take my case?
Pay the attorney upfront rather than expecting them to take it on contingency. However, that probably means that it would cost you more to litigate the case than you would get from it.
 

quincy

Senior Member
What is the name of your state? New Jersey
I've contacted 4 law firms about a medical malpractice against a major hospital ER dept, but none will consider reviewing my case.
The 4th law firm, after some begging, said that even if they win the case they won't make enough for it to be worth their time.
I'm 60, so there are not decades of lost wages to be recovered or the expense of young children to be raised.

Any advice on how I could get a lawfirm to take my case?
You could pay for an attorney's services.

Most medical malpractice cases are taken on a contingency basis. The attorney does not get paid until you win your case. Then the attorney takes a percentage of the amount awarded.

If an attorney does not believe you can recover enough in damages from your lawsuit to cover his costs, he will not want to invest his own time and money in representing you.
 

AnotherAllan

New member
Make a lot more phone calls.

Meantime, how about telling us what the malpractice was and how it harmed you.

Maybe there is a reason for them turning you down.
This is the one page summary of my ER visit - I'm rejected for consideration without the law firms reading this.
How this harmed me will be posted later - it's dinner time.

----------------------------------------------

My experience at XXX Hospital on 1/31/2018, as remembered on 2/22/2019
SUMMARY – There was an approximately 30-hour delay between my entering the emergency department with a severely right foot drop and the start of my spinal decompression surgery.
  • I developed upper back pain on 1/6/2018 – this was the last day I worked. This was not a work-related injury.
  • I was walking with a cane but still active – driving every day, eating restaurant meals, visiting the gym for cardio on a recumbent bicycle, food shopping, etc.
  • Since my activities as a XXX were too difficult to do while walking with a cane I stopped working.
  • Around 1/30/2018 (?) I developed numbness and stiffness in my right foot.
  • On 1/31/2018 I walked 3 - 4 blocks when I moved my car for street cleaning. By time I got back to my home my foot was much worse, severely dropped and numb from mid-calf down.
  • I took an Uber to XXX hospital and arrived around noon. I specifically went to a trauma center, not YYY hospital in ZZZ where I live
  • I don’t know if I used the word “paralyzed” when I spoke to the triage nurse, I might have only said my foot was “stiff”. I requested a hospital wheelchair.
  • A CT scan was done, I don’t remember if it was upon entering ER care, that evening, or the following day. I think it was done when I left the ER to go to my room.
  • After about 2 hours(?) in the ER I was offered a prescription for pain killers and a referral to a pain management specialist
  • At this point I became quite incensed, and I am positive I then told them my foot was paralyzed and that I need to immediately be seen by a neurologist.
  • I was to be admitted for observation. I was told this by a clerk who discussed insurance issues, not a doctor.
  • The next day (Thursday, 2/1/2018) I spoke with several groups of doctors on rounds and a nurse at least once about my condition and my need for treatment.
  • In the late afternoon / early evening I met Dr. ZZZ He told me I would need an operation that would be scheduled for Monday or Tuesday due to the weekend. He sent me for an MRI.
  • Shortly after the MRI Dr ZZZ told me my spinal cord was compressed and that I needed surgery immediately. I was taken to the OR at once and asleep within half an hour.
 

quincy

Senior Member
AnotherAllan, there are no doctors who currently post to this forum (to my knowledge) so you are not going to get an evaluation of your medical complaints here. Sorry.

You will need to have the facts of your experience in the ER and after surgery personally reviewed by an attorney in your area.

If the attorney is interested in what you describe, the attorney will have your medical records sent to a medical expert for a review, to better determine if you have a claim worth the costs of pursuing.

An initial consultation with a medical malpractice attorney should be free -but these initial consultations are often short. For the consultation, you should have a brief outline prepared of the most important points. Using bullet points like you did above is a good idea, but eliminate all extraneous content.

If you cannot interest an attorney in representing you on a contingency basis, you can ask about the attorney's hourly rate.

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in New Jersey is two years.

As a note: What you are describing is not a legal ethics or lawyer malpractice issue.
 
Last edited:

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
I will say, however, that you will need to provide significant evidence that but for the delay, the results of the surgery would have been different. In other words, that the delay of less than a day and a half resulted in permanent or long lasting damage.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I will say, however, that you will need to provide significant evidence that but for the delay, the results of the surgery would have been different. In other words, that the delay of less than a day and a half resulted in permanent or long lasting damage.
There was also an apparent 25 day delay in seeking medical attention, from the time of onset of back pain to the trip to the emergency room.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
Could you recommend a better forum?
There are other legal advice forums (though this is the best one) and some of us are on all of them. You'll get the same information no matter where you post.

CBG's comment is critical in determining whether or not you have a medical malpractice case so I'll post it again:

I will say, however, that you will need to provide significant evidence that but for the delay, the results of the surgery would have been different. In other words, that the delay of less than a day and a half resulted in permanent or long lasting damage.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Could you recommend a better forum?
I am not sure any forum will be of much help to you.

With medical malpractice cases, medical records need to be personally examined and evaluated to see if there was a standard of care that was breached. These cases are very fact-specific, looking into the entire medical history of the patient filing the complaint. And these are also not cases that can easily be handled without a skilled medical malpractice attorney. The hospital/doctor/nurse/medical staff will be represented, often by a team of skilled attorneys. The pro se litigant is at a distinct disadvantage no matter how egregious the conduct of the other party.

My recommendation to you is to keep calling New Jersey attorneys to see if you can interest one in your case. As said earlier, if your injury or malpractice is not so clear-cut as to assure an award of damages, or the harm is not so severe as to warrant a high award, you might find you will have to pay for representation rather than having an attorney agree to invest their own resources by offering a contingency contract.

Good luck.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
There was also an apparent 25 day delay in seeking medical attention, from the time of onset of back pain to the trip to the emergency room.
That stuck out to me as well.

It is unclear what the long term negative outcome has been that was caused by the 30 hour delay, or if the complaint is just that there was a delay. The delay alone is not, I suspect, medical malpractice. Nor has there been an indicator of how the surgery went, and what sort of recovery OP has had. The narrative ends at OP being put under.

There is no comment about what "went wrong" during surgery.
There is no comment about second or third opinions from other drs as to what should have been done, and how doing things differently could have changed the outcome.
 
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quincy

Senior Member
... The narrative ends at OP being put under.

There is no comment about what "went wrong" during surgery.
There is no comment about second or third opinions from other drs as to what should have been done, and how doing things differently could have changed the outcome.
AnotherAllan said he would include that information after his dinner ... but he might have been discouraged from doing so when I commented that a legal forum cannot tell him whether there has been malpractice or not. That requires a personal review by a professional in his area.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
AnotherAllan said he would include that information after his dinner ... but he might have been discouraged from doing so when I commented that a legal forum cannot tell him whether there has been malpractice or not. That requires a personal review by a professional in his area.
And unfortunately, what happens during surgery is the most important part.

I am not seeing the delay as critical; since Allan ignored his problem, it might reasonably be seen as not too urgent to others.

It's certainly not unethical for a lawyer to refuse to take a case.
 

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