A woman sits on her couch with a stressed look on her face.

Let’s say you need major surgery. You prepare for it according to the hospital’s recommendations, you show up on time, and you leave the hospital soon after the surgery, as expected. When you get home, though, you notice an abnormality: The hospital clearly made a mistake—something you can hold them liable for.

As the weeks go by, you contemplate suing the hospital. You think about the financial stress, the lengthy legal proceedings, what your family and friends may think. 

In this article we’ll cover the most common reasons people don’t sue (and why they probably should). Suing isn’t bad, and it isn’t scary. Let’s dig in.

“It Was Probably Just A Mistake…”

When doctors commit malpractice, it can be challenging to tell them directly. Maybe you’re an exceptionally nice person, and you don’t want to ruin their day.  Plus, you’re thinking there’s a good chance your injury was an honest mistake. Nobody does stuff like that on purpose, and Dr. Schmo seems like a professional. Who doesn’t want to give second chances? 

But here’s the thing. Dr. Schmo’s intention isn’t the problem, the outcome is. If you were injured because of the doctor’s mistake, you deserve compensation. After all, the doctor’s negligence made you suffer physically, emotionally, mentally or all of the above. Think of it like a money-back guarantee. You didn’t get what you paid an arm and a leg for (hopefully not literally too), so you should “get your money back.” 

That’s why doctors have crazy expensive insurance that  you  ultimately have to pay for as the patient — to give the patients they wronged their “money back,” that is. “Sorry I couldn’t give you the smooth and successful surgery you paid for, here’s $X,XXX,XXX to cover what you paid plus the damages we caused and the years of nightmares, PTSD, and other troubles. If you didn’t get what you paid for, you deserve your money back.

A young woman stares out a window as she decides what to do.

“But I Like My Doctor!” 

Let’s say you’ve been visiting your doctor for years. You talk news, politics — they’ve seen your child grow up, maybe you’ve even shared a meal or two together. You don’t want to spoil a personal relationship. Who does? But listen: malpractice is malpractice. Whether or not your doctor is a likable guy is besides the point. If you believe your doctor is your friend, pay attention to how he or she navigates the situation. 

If they don’t sweep it under the rug, or try to hide their negligence, and they not only apologize, but insist that you deserve compensation, guess what? That doctor may actually be a friend, since they’re making sure you’re treated properly (at least the second time around). Fact is, making sure you’re compensated for the malpractice isn’t just good for you — it’ll make that doctor a better doctor too. 

“I Don’t Want Someone To Lose Their Job To Malpractice”

Many people resist suing for malpractice. Who wants to be the reason their doctor loses their job and respect as a medical professional? First and foremost, if you or a loved one has been injured, the medical professional responsible should be held accountable, or else they may cause the same harm to somebody else. But you should also know, doctors don’t really lose their license to practice because of one incident. Their behavior must go beyond ordinary negligence and into the reckless endangerment and a threat to society category. It usually takes two determinations. In fact, almost all doctors get sued for malpractice at least once during their career. 

Now that we’ve covered that, consider yourself. A lawsuit can help cover medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for physical and emotional suffering. Not only that, think about the last time you did something you got in trouble for. Maybe it was a parking fine, or a speeding ticket. Were you less or more careful afterward? The same applies to doctors and other medical professionals. Consequences make you think twice before making the same mistake, and that’s a great thing, for every patient that doctor has in the future. Therefore, it’s critical to hold medical professionals accountable for their actions.

“Malpractice Lawyers Cost Too Much!” 

Are you scared to hire a malpractice lawyer because you think you’ll lose and it’ll break your bank? That’s understandable, but I’ve got some good news for you. Most malpractice lawyers can offer you a free consultation to assess whether your case is viable. This allows you to explore the possibility of a lawsuit without leaping before you look. If a lawsuit isn’t feasible, no harm done. Even better, you can work on a contingency-fee basis, which means you only pay if you win your case!

A woman holds in the palm of her hands a pile of money.

“It’s Just A Little Mistake, That Can’t Be Malpractice, Can It?”

Just because your injury doesn’t seem big, doesn’t make it less likely to be a successful lawsuit. An injury is an injury and malpractice is malpractice. A doctor’s negligence — even a seemingly small error — can cause all sorts of unforeseeable future medical issues. Even if your injuries are small, your case should be successful as long as you can prove negligence. 

Why Suing Is Actually A Good Thing

The main benefit of a successful lawsuit is that it’ll help lift financial burdens, but medical malpractice cases serves another great purpose. For one, when patients bring their malpractice cases to court, it holds doctors accountable. Filing a suit teaches doctors to be more careful with their patients, which helps prevent future malpractice. Ideally, that doctor’s future patients won’t have to suffer from malpractice like you had to. Secondly, more doctors held accountable = less malpractice as a nation. You suing your doctor for malpractice contributes significantly to safer hospitals and medical centers across the nation. 

Filing a lawsuit can offer you a chance to find peace of mind, help others avoid negligent doctors, and receive the compensation you deserve.