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  1. #1

    Default Too Old to Be Profitable

    My question involves malpractice in the state of: New Jersey

    I'm 60, and have a potential lawsuit against an ER that delayed my spinal decompression surgery by over a day due to misdiagnosis of a dropped foot.

    I've contacted 4 law firms so far, all have refused my case at the "phone screener" stage. Three of these law firms were "major" practices listed in US News and World Reports "America's best lawyers", and one was a "billboards all over the place" operation (sorry - no better way to describe them)

    At the 4th law firm, a major that exclusively does medical malpractice, I offered to pay for a consultation. they refused my offer and told me they felt it would not be profitable enough if they won the case. I don't have kids to raise or decades of lost wages to boost my payment.

    The 4 rejections were by experts so it would be unwise to pay myself instead of using a firm's contingency plan.

    What can I do? I assume I have no ability to sue.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    1,423

    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    We have no idea what abilities you have.

    You could, in theory, file a suit yourself, without an attorney, but medmal is not a good DIY area. Medmal cases are expensive to litigate, and unprofitability is a very real and legitimate issue that causes law firms to decline to take cases. Also, delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment cases are very difficult because it is generally highly speculative whether the delay caused any significant harm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    16,960

    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    Quote Quoting Allans question
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    delayed my spinal decompression surgery by over a day due to misdiagnosis of a dropped foot.
    A day?

    Would the outcome have been any different if your surgery had not been delayed by a day?

    Be honest with yourself about that because that's what lawyers are looking at. Your age has nothing to do with it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Your age has nothing to do with it.
    Oh yes, his age does have something to do with it. It has a very real impact on the amount of damages that might be won in the lawsuit. The lawyers look at everything that would affect the amount of damaged that may be awarded.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    1,138

    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    But if there's not a potentially winnable case, his age and possible recovery amounts aren't even going to be much of a factor in their whole decision making process. Hard to believe that if the whole case otherwise sounded like it was something that could be won, they'd have turned it down flat without at least suggesting he see someone else, even if they didn't want to go to that much time and trouble because he was too old. That four of them have done this does tend to tell one something.

    Some law firms say they'd prefer to work with clients after all the damages that were incurred by the potentially malpractice things had been dealt with. OP, have the problems caused by your day of delay in having the spinal decompression surgery been dealt with? Is there any way your future permanent damages are assessed at this time?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    Quote Quoting comment/ator
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    But if there's not a potentially winnable case, his age and possible recovery amounts aren't even going to be much of a factor in their whole decision making process. Hard to believe that if the whole case otherwise sounded like it was something that could be won, they'd have turned it down flat without at least suggesting he see someone else
    Both merits and profitability are considered, and they generally work on a sliding scale. If both are judged on a scale of 1-10, most law firms won't take a case that has 0-2 profitability regardless of the merits (and vice versa). On the other hand, if merits are in the 8-10 range, then firms will take cases with low profitability, whereas, if potential profitability is in the 8-10 range, then they may take cases with comparatively low merits (high risk/high reward). Of course, these numbers are just made up for the purpose of illustrating a point.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    Quote Quoting comment/ator
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    But if there's not a potentially winnable case, his age and possible recovery amounts aren't even going to be much of a factor in their whole decision making process.
    It's a factor. The lawyer is going to look at everything. pg1067's discussion of the sliding scale is as good a way to describe it as any I can think of. Naturally if there is truly no chance at all of winning then the rest of doesn't matter. But apart from that, the attorney is going to balance the merits of the case and the potential award to determine whether the case is worth taking on. And each firm's assessment is going to be a bit different. Some will have more tolerance for risk than other firms. Some will simply be better at assessing cases than others.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    Quote Quoting pg1067
    View Post
    Both merits and profitability are considered
    Problem is I can't get past a phone screener to have a real lawyer make this decision. They won't even let me send them my 1 page summary of the incident.

    I feel the evidence of malpractice is very strong, but they won't even let me pay for a consultation. They know they won't make enough money if they win.

    I tell the phone screener that I can't return to work, I have permanent partial paralysis of my leg, and am applying for social security disability. I suspect if I was 30 with 2 kids they would be very interested in my case.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    Quote Quoting pg1067
    View Post
    Both merits and profitability are considered, and they generally work on a sliding scale. If both are judged on a scale of 1-10, most law firms won't take a case that has 0-2 profitability regardless of the merits (and vice versa). On the other hand, if merits are in the 8-10 range, then firms will take cases with low profitability, whereas, if potential profitability is in the 8-10 range, then they may take cases with comparatively low merits (high risk/high reward). Of course, these numbers are just made up for the purpose of illustrating a point.
    Some law firms say they'd prefer to work with clients after all the damages that were incurred by the potentially malpractice things had been dealt with. OP, have the problems caused by your day of delay in having the spinal decompression surgery been dealt with? Is there any way your future permanent damages are assessed at this time?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Too Old to Be Profitable

    What MEDICAL evidence do you have that your condition would be significantly better if your surgery had been performed a day sooner? How many doctors have told you that would be the case?

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