August 2, 2019
The Choice of Experts for Certificate or Affidavit of Merit
The expert that will review your case for merit will be matched to the specific board-certification of the defendant, or will match the certification of the licensed healthcare professional in question. The expert will be actively practicing or actively working in an academic capacity, and will meet your State requirements in qualifying as an expert witness. The expert will be checked for any potential conflicts, since they have agreed to support their opinion through deposition and/or trial, if warranted.
What Must the Certificate or Affidavit of Merit cover?
The specific language requirements of the Certificate or Affidavit of merit vary from state to state. But generally speaking, the Certificate/Affidavit must state three things:
- the expert signing the Certificate/Affidavit qualifies as an expert in the same medical field or healthcare profession in which the defendant health care provider practices.
- the expert has reviewed your case, and
- the expert is of the opinion that your case has merit — meaning that the defendant’s conduct has deviated from the accepted standards of care under the circumstances.
The Expert Who Signs the Certificate or Affidavit will also be the Testifying Expert.
Some states have strict requirements on who signs the Certificate or Affidavit of Merit can be. Others do not. Depending on the state, the physician, or healthcare professional, will be required to have some of the following qualifications:
- a current and active license
- active clinical experience (i.e., that the expert actually performs the care in question), both prior to, and specifically at, the time the care was being provided
- the expert must be certified in the same area of medicine as the defendant
- the expert spends a majority of their time in active or academic practice.
How Long does it take?
In the United States, 29 states have statutes governing the timing and content of an Certificate or Affidavit of merit in a medical malpractice claim. The initial review of records and a forensic report on our letterhead takes 4 – 6 weeks. In situations where there is a time constraint a verbal report can be given to meet the requirements of your case.
How does our service save you time and money?
The Expert that reviews the case initially for merit is also available to sign the Certificate or Affidavit of merit and is also available to support his or her opinion through deposition and trial. This means an expert is paid one time for initial review.
Our forensic report will assist the attorney with the preparation of the Certificate or Affidavit of merit by serving as a template.
Our process can be completed from time of initial review to signing of Certificate or Affidavit of merit in a six week process
June 28, 2019
Medical errors happen every day. They occur in alarming numbers and are extremely costly. Some areas of inpatient and outpatient healthcare are particularly unsafe, such as pediatrics, surgery centers, emergency rooms, hospice care, intensive care units (ICUs), lower-volume hospitals, nursing homes/rehabilitation facilities, and more.
The average person may think because medical errors happen so frequently, that medical malpractice lawsuits are abundant and that these cases are clogging up the courts. But these are just two in a long list of medical malpractice myths that need to be cleared up.
Myth #1: “Fear of litigation” is the main reason doctors fail to report medical errors.
No. The main reason doctors and other health professionals fail to report medical errors is they don’t recognize certain instances are causing the patient harm. That’s right — they don’t realize certain events should be reported.
Maybe the person assumed someone else would report the episode. Or they thought it happened so frequently that it did not need to be reported. Some people even think because it’s unlikely to happen again, they don’t need to report it. Lack of understanding, education, and enforcement are the reasons for failing to report medical errors.
Myth #2: Medical malpractice cases are frivolous and common.
Despite the large number of medical errors occurring in healthcare facilities across the country, medical malpractice cases represent only 4 percent of state tort caseloads. Medical malpractice cases represent only 0.17 percent of state civil caseloads, and only approximately 1 in 5 patients harmed result in a lawsuit.
Other studies have estimated that as few as 2 to 3 percent of patients pursue litigation. This goes to show that the vast majority of medical errors causing patient harm never result in a lawsuit.
Myth #3: Medical malpractice payouts affect large numbers of doctors
Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), only a small number of doctors are responsible for most medical malpractice payouts. Incompetent physicians who cause medical errors are rarely held accountable by the federal government or state medical boards, leading to further medical errors and medical malpractice lawsuits. Instead of medical malpractice affecting a large number of physicians, it’s actually a small group of repeated offenders.
For example, one study found that 28 states have doctors who have been warned, yet have been allowed to practice unrestricted.
Myth #4: Medical malpractice cases are clogging the courts
Contrary to this belief among the general public, many medical malpractice cases are settled outside of court. According to averages calculated from the most recent NCSC data (2016), the percentage of medical malpractice cases resolved through jury trial in state courts is just
Other research shows that 90 percent of cases are settled without jury trial, with some estimates indicating that the figure is as high as 97 percent.
Customarily, if the insurance company and lawyers can conclude that the medical provider was negligent, the case is settled prior to reaching a jury. The threat of a jury trial is often what encourages parties to settle, since jury trials are costly and time-consuming.
Expert Witnesses for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
No matter the type of medical malpractice case you are pursuing, you can trust Saponaro, Inc. for professional and objective expert witnesses. We’re here to help keep the process as streamlined as possible. We offer:
You can find a consulting or testifying expert witness you need to strengthen your medical malpractice case. We have thousands of experts standing by to assist you. Find one today.
Source: “Medical Malpractice: By the Numbers”, Center for Justice & Democracy at New York Law School, December 2018 update.
June 20, 2019
Product recalls happen as a result of consumer safety concerns not originally detected when the product was released, or because of an undetected malfunction that requires repair. But injuries or even death can occur when a product is recalled off the market too late.
Even if a product is for sale and being purchased by thousands or millions of consumers, it’s not necessarily safe. It could be a best-seller for a manufacturer, resulting in millions of dollars in profits, but it may not be safe.
Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper Deaths & Injuries
This was the case with the popular Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, which is currently the subject of two class-action lawsuits. On April 5, 2019, a Consumer Reports investigation connected the infant rocker to more than 30 infant deaths since 2009. Days later, Fisher-Price issued a safety warning clarifying the safe use of the sleepers.
But issuing the safety warning wasn’t enough. Despite expecting to lose an estimated $30-
$35 million in sales of the popular baby product, Fisher-Price voluntarily decided to take all
4.7 million of its popular Rock ‘n Play sleepers off the market via product recalls.
The class-action lawsuits against Fisher-Price and its parent company, Mattel, state that the sleeper was dangerously and falsely advertised.
“The recall was too late to save the lives of more than 30 infants and to prevent injuries of numerous other infants caused by the Rock ‘n Play,” the lawsuit states. “The Rock ‘n Play causes death or injury to infants because its defective design enables them to move into positions in which they cannot breathe.”
Vape Pen Injuries
Another popular product that’s still being sold by numerous manufacturers and being used by thousands of Americans is the vape pen, also known as an e-cigarette. One user was walking his dog when his leg suddenly burst into flames.
His KangerTech e-cigarette was in his pocket, and it had exploded.
Why did this malfunction occur? The man states it could have been his use of an off-brand battery inside the vape pen, which KangerTech had not specifically warned about. Regardless, the man suffered third-degree burns across his right leg, and required treatment from a burn unit.
There are multiple exploding e-cigarette instances resulting in severe, life-altering injuries. Yet these products continue to be sold and used by consumers, despite the lack of warning from manufacturers and the risk of personal injury.
These examples show that every day products can be dangerous, even if they’re tested and advertised as safe. Product recalls occur to take dangerous products off the market, but sometimes they happen too late.
If you’re looking for an expert witness for your personal injury case, let us help. We have thousands of experts standing by to assist you with your case. Find one today.
June 11, 2019
As an attorney, your expertise is in pursuing and winning legal cases, whether it’s medical malpractice, personal injury, or others. That’s why when cases involve a medical component, you need medical experts to assist you with building a winning case.
Nurse consultants guide attorneys through all the medical aspects of their case. This service, also known as concierge nursing, utilizes practicing nurses and/or nurse practitioners as expert witnesses in legal cases.
How do you know if your case could benefit from the help of a nurse consultant? Or should you turn to another type of expert? Let’s examine the ways a nurse consultant can help.
A nurse consultant can organize and interpret medical records and charts.
Medical record organization is an essential component of the medical review process. Organized medical records provide efficient navigation during case preparation. When you work with a registered nurse (RN) on your case, you can stay organized and efficient throughout the discovery process, case preparation, and expert testimony.
A nurse consultant can help you understand medical issues and terminology pertinent to the case.
This step is especially beneficial when deciding if a case is worth pursuing, which can be nearly impossible if you don’t understand the medical details of the case. It’s also helpful when preparing for trial and speaking to a jury, as the nurse consultant can coach you on how to communicate medical details in a way a jury can understand.
A nurse consultant can recommend other experts needed to build a winning case.
You know you’re going to need certain expert witnesses for a case, but you might not be sure of the best specialty to address standard of care or damages. A nurse consultant can strategize these areas of the case with you, helping you decide which medical specialists are needed, and for what purpose.
A nurse consultant can identify information gaps that are crucial to pursuing the case.
When you review the details of a case, it may seem like all the pieces are there. When a nurse consultant takes a look a look at the records, he or she may have a different perspective. They may notice missing records, or lack of information that could affect the outcome of the case. A nurse consultant will point out these gaps so you’re prepared ahead of time.
A nurse consultant can spot potential deviations and defendants.
Similar to number four, nurse consultants come into the case with a unique perspective, so they can often identify angles or approaches the opposing side may take. Think of the nurse consultant as a fresh set of eyes that can help you see all the various directions the case may go.
Find the Nurse Consultant You Need
As an attorney handling a medical malpractice or personal injury case, it’s your job to find the experts who understand and can explain the intricacies of your case, and a nurse consultant can guide you through this process, and help you build a winning case.
No matter the details involved in your medical malpractice case, you can trust Saponaro, Inc. for professional and objective expert witnesses. We’re here to help keep the process simple and stress-free. We offer:
Let us take the work of understanding complicated medical terminology out of your hands. We have thousands of experts standing by to assist you with your case. Find one today.
June 6, 2019
Misdiagnosis is more common than many people think, especially among pediatric patients. In a study that examined over 1,200 pediatric medical malpractice claims, the most common patient assessment issue was “failure to appreciate and reconcile relevant signs, symptoms and test results.”
The providers in the study failed to see the bigger clinical picture by looking at all available information (such as patient history, reported symptoms, a physical exam, and test results) to properly diagnose the patient.
May 24, 2019
The job of a forensic toxicologist is not a simple one. These professionals are tasked with understanding the innerworkings of chemicals, drugs, gases, metals, and how each interacts with and affects the human body. These scientists know how to interpret and explain drug dosages, drug interactions, and other toxicology fundamentals to help solidify a personal injury or medical malpractice case.
May 15, 2019
The third most-common cardiovascular health threat is venous thromboembolism (VTE), or a blood clot in the leg that travels to the lungs. When diagnosed, it can be treated with surgical thrombectomy. But sometimes doctors don’t diagnose it in time to treat it with thrombectomy.
According to WorldThrombosisDay.org, “blood clots in the leg and lungs are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, many of which could be avoided with proper diagnosis and treatment.”
Most VTE fatalities happen from a failure to diagnose, rather than a failure to treat it. When diagnosed in a sufficient amount of time, surgical thrombectomy is an adequate treatment to prevent long-term injury and death.
May 6, 2019
When a person is admitted into the hospital, they put their lives in the hands of medical professionals. Each of us trusts that the doctors, nurses, medical assistants, radiology technicians, and any other medical staff have our best interests at heart. But these professionals make mistakes.
April 25, 2019
Patients turn to physicians for proper diagnosis and treatment. They put their trust in medical staff to take the right steps, run the right tests, and make the right diagnosis. When a doctor fails to diagnose a condition it can lead to permanent damage and sometimes death.
April 16, 2019
The state of Washington declared a state of emergency on January 25, 2019. The reason? Roughly 55 confirmed cases of measles just this year, most among children under age 10.
It’s not just Washington that’s been affected by this disease outbreak. 11 other states have seen incidences, as well. Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is tracking three disease outbreaks (measles specifically) across the country: in New York City, in New York state, and Washington state.