Legally, you are allowed to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Iowa without obtaining an attorney. But before you do so, you need to make sure that’s a good idea for your Iowa medical malpractice claim.
What You Could Lose if You Represent Yourself in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Most medical malpractice victims that we help are seriously injured or have died due to negligence. A life has been lost, or quality of life has seriously changed for a victim. Without an experienced Iowa medical malpractice lawyer fighting for fairness for you or your loved one, you could lose out on thousands of dollars.
That means you may not be able to pay all of your medical bills or recoup all of your harms and losses without an attorney. When you are harmed because of someone else’s fault, you deserve compensation and should not have to pay for someone else’s mistake.
Medical malpractice cases are difficult to win. They are complex matters that require skilled attorneys. You (or an attorney) must prove that there was a standard of care that the health care provider needed to meet when treating you, and prove how that provider fell short of the standard.
Iowa Medical Malpractice Experts
This type of case requires the use of medical expert witnesses to prove negligence. These witnesses review your medical records and give expert testimony on whether the doctor or medical professional who hurt you committed malpractice.
Only an expert with the same background and training can testify. Their fees generally run thousands of dollars, and finding an expert in the first place can be difficult. If you file a lawsuit without an attorney, you will have to pay these expert fees yourself out of your own pocket.
Often these fees and other costs associated with medical malpractice claims can run anywhere from $50,000-$100,000 or more. If you lose your case, you get none of this money back.
Working on Contingency: Why Hiring a Skilled Iowa Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Save You Money
Many medical malpractice attorneys work on contingency – which means they front you the costs in the case and do not make you pay anything upfront. For most medical malpractice victims, this can be the best way to get justice without having to pay thousands of dollars before settlement.
Serving as your own counsel on a medical malpractice claim means you have to represent yourself as a lawyer does. You will have to follow the same rules as the defense does – the judge will not make exceptions for you if you don’t know the law.
Representing Yourself Pro Se in an Iowa Medical Malpractice Suit
If you represent yourself – also known as “pro se” – you would be responsible for:
- Understanding and following all of the court deadlines – and if you miss a deadline, your case could be dismissed
- Taking witnesses’ depositions – which are recorded testimony by people who have knowledge
- Filing motions with the court
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Taking part in a mediation – many medical malpractice cases will try to mediate the case before trial. Mediation is when the two sides and a neutral third-party mediator come together and try to reach a settlement before going to trial.
- Taking your case to trial – if you do not settle your case, you will need to go to trial. If this happens, you will need to argue your side of the case in front of a jury.
As you can see, handling a medical malpractice lawsuit on your own can be complicated. Hiring an attorney to help you with your claim may be the best way to get a fair settlement.
Even if you’re not sure if you have a case, your best bet is to speak to an experienced Iowa medical malpractice lawyer and see if they can help. The initial consultation is at no cost and with no obligation.
RSH Legal offers a free, no-obligation case evaluation to Iowa medical malpractice victims. To schedule yours, call 1-800-433-0283 today.