Many injured patients seeking to file a medical malpractice claim may have trouble finding an attorney to represent them, study findings published in the Vanderbilt Law Review indicate.
Attorneys who represent medical malpractice plaintiffs were surveyed, and asked about case-screening procedures, case rejection rate, reasons for rejecting cases, and various other factors. Overall, 464 attorneys completed the survey.
Most attorneys reject between 95% and 99% of malpractice cases they screen – 76.8% of respondents indicated they rejected more than 90% of cases.
The amount of possible damages seemed to be a major factor in the attorneys’ decisions. Less than 1.2% of medical malpractice attorneys were willing to take on a case in which the potential damages were fewer than $50,000.
Over half of the attorneys surveyed said they would reject a case, regardless of the likelihood of success, if the potential damages were below $250,000. Other factors that affected attorneys’ willingness to take on cases included caps on damages and other tort reforms.