The Doctor Lawsuit and the Ultimate Malpractice Definition
- March 10, 2015
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The doctor lawsuit does not end with a malpractice definition and review of how to avoid malpractice in the United States and our estate planning blog reviews why: A doctor, or any wealthy individual, is assumed to be wealthy and thus are low-hanging fruit to attack or shake down.
In the United States, the average physician can be expected to be sued at least once during his or her professional career. This estimate was calculated in 2010 by researchers focusing on the frequency of medical liability claims from 2007 to 2008. A doctor lawsuit is as likely to be filed in the United States as a liability claim for an auto accident, and medical malpractice is only a tiny part of this grim picture for the American medical profession and the doctor lawsuit; it so happens that physicians often find themselves targeted by plaintiffs filing personal lawsuits.
The Doctor Lawsuit
Why are doctor lawsuits so common in the United States? Essentially, there are two reasons: One of them is the misconception among the American public that most physicians are wealthy; the other reason is that many patients have an incorrect preconceived notion about the medical malpractice definition in general. While it is true that some doctor lawsuits result in very high payouts by insurance companies, hospitals, clinics, and physicians, these cases are closer to being an exception rather than a rule.
It so happens that although American doctors have a five percent chance of being named respondents in legal cases that fit the malpractice definition, about 65 percent of such cases are either dropped or dismissed. In a litigious society such as the United States, attorneys who specialize in personal liability and doctor lawsuits are able to determine the potential merits of a lawsuit during its early stage. To this end, a skilled malpractice attorney knows when a complaint from a would-be plaintiff is tenuous enough to be considered frivolous, and thus lawyers can tell their clients when a case would go nowhere.
When a Case Does Not Fit the Malpractice Definition
When a case does not fit the medical malpractice definition, an experienced attorney may consider the possibility of filing a personal liability complaint instead. This would still be a doctor lawsuit, but it would not fit the malpractice definition. Still, if an attorney’s initial investigation into the facts of the case reveals that a physician has deposited his or her assets in a properly draft, funded, and managed family trust fund like an UltraTrust®, there is a very strong chance that the case will not be filed at all.
The UltraTrust® is a legal instrument that consists of an irrevocable trust that has been carefully structured to be managed by a professional trustee. To an attorney working on a contingency basis, the presence of an UltraTrust® indicates that a physician has taken careful steps to shield his property and assets from lawsuits, which means that potential plaintiffs are bound to get nothing even if the court’s decision is in their favor.
Protecting your assets is not a topic that is commonly taught in medical school, but statistics associated with doctor lawsuits and medical malpractice support the idea of teaching legal defensive strategies to future doctors. Even when malpractice claims are either dismissed or dropped, American doctors can expect to see legal fees ranging from about $25K to $100K if they are sued for personal liability; however, when an instrument such as the UltraTrust® is detected, physicians can rest easy insofar as their personal assets and property being protected regardless of how crazy the potential threat may appear – even if it exceeds the limits of your insurance.
If you need help strategizing a plan specific to you and your family’s needs, email us at email@example.com or call (888) 538-5872 for a free 30 minute consultation.
TELL US what you think about a high risk of a doctor lawsuit in the Comments Box below. What is the craziest lawsuit against a doctor you have heard or experienced? Why?