Medical lawyers operate in the field of medical malpractice law. They represent doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, and injured patients. Before law school, medical lawyers tend to take pre-med classes, such as biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, medical recording, and bio-medical ethics. During law school, medical lawyers take classes in health law, personal injury, corporations, and insurance law.
Medical malpractice is concerned with a mistake a doctor may or may not have made, which results in a patients’ injury. Medical lawyers, no matter what side they are on, are chiefly concerned with improving our health care system. However, one medical lawyer may see an “improvement” as enabling a child suffering from birth injuries to recover more money, while another might see an “improvement” as enabling the doctor to perform her duties free of the stress of lawsuits.
Most people have heard of the classic medical malpractice cases where a sponge is left inside a patient’s abdomen. This is called a “patent” or obvious error. Medical lawyers love these kinds of cases, since a doctor may be held liable on a “strict liability” or “the thing speaks for itself” theory.
Medical lawyers can also work side-by-side with hospitals, to advise them on correct legal policies and procedures that should be implemented. For example, a medical lawyer may research what the law says about failing to put up a guardrail on a hospital moving bed. If a patient rolls off while in transit, who, if anyone, is liable?
Medical lawyers also advise insurance companies on the best way to handle a claim. Their ultimate aim is to keep the cost of insurance down by protecting the company from having to pay out exorbitant damages to patients who may or may not be “faking it.”
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Last Modified: 02-22-2013 04:12 PM PST
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