What You Need to Know about Medical Malpractice

Little Rock Medical Malpractice Lawyer Serving All of Arkansas


Medical Malpractice Cases Are Different Than Any Other Kind of Case

Medical malpractice cases are some of the most difficult and complex that any lawyer can handle. Not only is medical malpractice a complex area of the law to navigate, but there’s also the science of medicine itself. There are procedural rules and standards of care that differ from one medical field to another.  These cases are much, much more difficult than a car wreck case, or a slip and fall case, or a divorce.  Lawyers who don't know what they are doing on these cases are going to get crushed by lawyers who do--and doctors always hire experienced and skilled malpractice attorneys.

So the very first question you ask a lawyer you are considering for your family's medical malpractice case is:  "how long have you been handling these cases, and is this the main thing you do, or just a sideline?"

What Do We Look At to Determine Whether You Have a Good Case?


Experience Med Mal Attorney Polewski Can Review Your CaseIn analyzing whether you have a good medical malpractice case, we’ll look at three issues:

1. Did the Doctor Make an Inexcusable Mistake?

It is not enough in a medical malpractice case to prove that a doctor made a mistake. Some mistakes are excusable and are not medical malpractice.

For example, during a surgery, a doctor may accidentally cut something he didn’t intend to cut. This is probably medical malpractice, but in some cases may be an excusable mistake, and therefore not medical malpractice.

The same type of issue arises in cases involving misdiagnoses, orthopedic surgery, dentistry, physical therapy and every other healthcare field.

That’s why our lawyers and experts will need to determine not only that a mistake was made, but that the mistake is a mistake that a prudent doctor would not have made under the same circumstances.

Lawyers hired to defend doctors often claim that the mistake made by the doctor wasn’t malpractice, but was only “a complication” or “just a risk of the surgery." Doctors who commit malpractice will never, ever tell you that they made an inexcusable mistake. They’ll either say nothing or call what happened a “complication” – exactly what their medical malpractice defense lawyers tell them to say.

2. Did the Mistake Make a Difference?

Sometimes it is obvious that a doctor made an inexcusable mistake, but that mistake did not make a difference in the patient’s outcome.

An example we see often is a case in which the patient already has very advanced cancer at the time he first goes to see the doctor, but the doctor fails to make the right diagnosis for several months. In these cases the doctor’s delay in making the correct diagnosis may not make any difference to the patient’s outcome, because the cancer was already so advanced that it could not be cured. Where earlier diagnosis would not have made a difference, there is no medical malpractice case even where the mistake made by the doctor was inexcusable.

This is the type of complex medical and legal issue which requires the expertise of an experienced medical malpractice team. A lawyer who usually handles divorces or car wreck cases simply does not have the capability of making these determinations, and does not have access to the medical experts necessary to reach the right scientific answer.

3. How Much of a Difference Did It Make?

Medical malpractice cases are expensive and complex due to the nature of medicine and the fact that to win a case requires testimony from very expensive medical experts. The cost of pursuing a medical malpractice case – even before attorneys fees are considered – can easily reach $50,000 and sometimes as much as $100,000.

It often happens that people call us about cases which are obvious medical malpractice, and the medical malpractice made a difference, but the difference it made was too small to justify the high cost of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

An example of this situation is medical malpractice during surgery which resulted in an extra week’s stay at the hospital. Anyone who has ever had to be in a hospital knows that having to spend an extra week at the hospital is a big deal.

Unfortunately, that kind of case is not likely to ever generate a large enough settlement to cover the cost of getting the settlement. Put another way, the client in that case would never get back the amount of money he would have to pay in expenses to get to the point where a settlement offer would be made.

This is why, when we are considering whether to advise you to pursue a medical malpractice case, one of the things we look at is the probable size of the settlement you might receive compared to the cost of getting that recovery. Obviously, nobody wants to go through with a medical malpractice case if at the end of the case the amount of a settlement is so small that only experts, vendors and attorneys get paid, and there is no money left for the client.

Our lawyers pride ourselves on taking good care of our clients and their families. We would never tell a client to pursue a bad case, or a case where the client is likely to get nothing when the case is over.

You Probably Don't Want a Local Lawyer For Your Medical Malpractice Case

People tend to want their lawyers to be in their hometown, with offices right close by. That makes sense if the lawyer is preparing your will or handling a small car accident case. It doesn’t make sense if you are suing the local hospital or a local doctor.

In every town and most cities in Arkansas, all of the doctors and lawyers know each other. They play golf together at the same country club. Their children go to the same schools. Their wives belong to the same organizations and go to the same spas. The lawyers and their families go to the same few hospitals and use the same few doctors.

Local doctors and local lawyers see each other all the time – and they are going to see each other all the time long after your case is over and your attorney has forgotten your name.

The local lawyers in your town may pretend that these things don’t make a difference, but they do. You know they do – and you deserve a lawyer who won’t pull any punches when it comes to representing you and your family.

At Polewski & Associates, our law offices aren’t in your hometown. But when we need to be there, we will be there. Of course, we are always just a phone call or email away.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What will this cost?

There is no charge at all for your initial consultations with us.

If we can help you, typically we handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means that we get paid a percentage of what we recover for you in your case. If there is no recovery in your case, you owe us nothing.

You and your family will never have to pay us anything unless we get a recovery for you.

  • What is a "Wrongful Death" case--is it different from a medical malpractice case?

The term "Wrongful Death" is used by lawyers to describe any kind of case that involves the death of someone due to the negligence of another person.  There are Wrongful Death cases filed every day that involve automobile accidents, dangerous drugs, workplace accidents--and of course, medical malpractice.  Our medical malpractice team has handled Wrongful Death medical malpractice cases for over two decades.

Will this be hard on me and my family?

No. We take very good care of our clients. You will be protected and comfortable. Always.

Once you call us and we begin work on your case, there is very little that you or your family have to do. Our lawyers and staff do all the work.

  • How do I know if I have a valid medical malpractice case?

The only way to know if you have a valid case is to have your case reviewed by competent medical malpractice lawyers. Inexperienced lawyers or lawyers who normally handle car wrecks don’t understand medicine or medical records and won’t be able to recognize medical malpractice. We have won many cases that other lawyers rejected because they didn’t understand the medical issues.

When you call Polewski & Associates, your medical malpractice case will get the personal attention of attorneys with top qualifications. If your case is serious, you and your family deserve medical malpractice lawyers with serious experience.

Stop wondering if you have a medical malpractice case. Call us now at 501-404-0062 to be sure. The call is free.


  • How much is my medical malpractice case worth?

It is impossible to answer that question without a thorough review of your case and the evidence. Our experienced lawyers will be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Contact us now, and we’ll get started.

Get Answers about Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

  • How much time do I have to file my medical malpractice claim?

You may have as much as two years in which to file your Arkansas medical malpractice suit – or you may have only days. In some cases, a patient might have more than two years to file suit. Sadly, some clients wait until it is already too late before they call us.

Don’t Guess! If you believe you may have a case, the best thing you can do is to contact us right now. The question of how much time you may have to sue for medical malpractice can be surprisingly complex, and it is a terrible shame to wait too long because you think you have “plenty of time”.

  • What is medical malpractice?

Doctors and nurses are trained to follow rules for the safety of their patients in all aspects of medicine – there are safety rules about how to diagnose the cause of pain, how to treat infections, what kind of medication to use for kidney problems, and many other situations. Medical malpractice is what happens when doctors or nurses fail to follow these rules and patients get hurt.

Can I sue a doctor or hospital for medical malpractice just because there was a bad result or an unexpected problem?

No. Just because there was a bad result from medical treatment does not mean that the doctor is guilty of medical malpractice. In order to win your case, we must prove that the bad result was due to negligence by a doctor or a nurse. If there is no negligence, there is no medical malpractice case no matter how bad the result of the treatment.

The reason you should choose Polewski & Associates as your medical malpractice lawyers is because of our experience and our ability to uncover negligence that less experienced and less qualified lawyers would miss.

  • So I have a case if the doctor made an inexcusable mistake?

Maybe. Proving that a doctor broke the rules he was supposed to follow and was negligent is only part of what we will need to prove to win your case. We also need to prove that the doctor’s mistake caused your injuries or made them worse.

Often, it will be clear that a doctor or nurse committed medical malpractice, but it will not be clear that the malpractice made a difference. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer in a patient whose cancer has already progressed to the point that it will surely kill him, the patient has not suffered any additional injuries from the failure to diagnose the cancer. As a result, the patient would not have a valid medical malpractice claim against the doctor.

  • How do I know whether my doctor’s medical malpractice made a difference to the outcome of my case?

Sometimes the answer to that question is obvious:  like where a doctor leaves a pair of scissors in a patient after surgery.   But usually it isn't so obvious, and often the question is very difficult, like when we have to determine whether a delay in cancer diagnosis changed the survivability of an already advanced cancer.  For these kinds of cases, you need to have your case reviewed by attorneys and experts who know the medicine and who can answer the questions for you.




What You Can Expect


Compensation in Medical Malpractice Cases | Little Rock ARWhen you choose Polewski & Associates, you'll know that your family is being represented by a legal team with over 25 years of experience handling all types of medical malpractice cases. Your lawyers will have excellent qualifications, proven success, and top reviews.

Your choice of lawyer for your medical malpractice case is important. The conspiracy of silence which keeps good doctors from testifying against bad doctors is very strong, and often a local lawyer has neither the skill nor the willingness to take on a local doctor.

To discuss your case for free, please call Polewski & Associates in Little Rock at 501-404-0062 today.