Should I Deal With the Hospital’s Risk Management and Patient Advocate or Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

doctor showing a patient some information

In January, 2023, the United States’ leading medical journal, The New England Journal of Medicine, published a study of Boston-area hospitals (some of the country’s best hospitals) finding that 1 in 4 U.S. hospitalized patients experienced one or more harmful events during their stay, and that 7% of all hospitalized patients suffered preventable adverse events that negatively affected their health. Given the prevalence of such medical malpractice, hospitals have Risk Management departments to minimize their legal and financial responsibility for their patients’ personal injuries and deaths. Hospital Risk Management typically staffs a so-called “Patient Advocate.” Beware: typically after an incident of medical malpractice, Risk Management and/or a would-be Patient Advocate quickly approaches a vulnerable patient and/or family and tries to settle the claim for a fraction of its true value without the patient or family having the benefit of a lawyer – indeed, with Risk Management typically discouraging the patient or family from speaking with a lawyer. 

Working with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer holds the hospital and its individual healthcare provider accountable for the harm they caused and helps you recover the compensation you deserve. At Waterman Law Centers, PLLC, we have over 40 years of award-winning service, so we have the experience and resources to take on your case, no matter the circumstances.

What Is Hospital Risk Management? 

In Hampton Roads, your local hospital likely is part of an extremely sophisticated billion-dollar or even multi-billion dollar health system that employs Risk Managers, plus a cadre of in-house and outside lawyers specializing in the defense of medical malpractice claims. At least a couple of those health systems are so wealthy that they are self-insured for their medical malpractice and have off-shore bank accounts with millions of dollars on deposit (such as in Bermuda or Cayman Islands).

Regardless of what the victims may be told by hospital reps about supposedly being saved the cost of a lawyer or otherwise “helped” by Risk Management, the job – the mission – of a hospital’s Risk Management is to minimize what is paid to settle a medical malpractice claim for a patient’s injury or death. Period.

Further, although a “Patient Advocate” sounds to be the friend and champion of patients and family, the Patient Advocate remains the hospital’s paid employee who works with Risk Management. Notably, patients and families should be wary that whatever they confide in a Patient Advocate stands to make its way to Risk Management and should not expect the Patient Advocate to be negotiating a favorable settlement for them.

You should not deal with medical malpractice alone. Working with an experienced lawyer at Waterman Law Centers, PLLC, helps you protect your legal rights and holds negligent healthcare providers accountable for their substandard care. 

Why You Should Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

A typical Risk Management settlement pitch to an unrepresented patient or family is that the hospital will “cover all of the medical bills.” There are a couple of big shortcomings with such a lowball settlement offer.

First, Risk Management usually means that the hospital just will pay the uninsured portion of bills, such as deductibles and co-pays, which ordinarily is a small amount relative to the value of the patient’s personal injury or death. Second, and much more significantly, with Risk Management’s self-serving myopic focus on medical bills, nothing actually is being paid to the patient or family for the most valuable part of the medical malpractice claim: past, present, and future pain, suffering, anguish, inconvenience, scarring, disfigurement, wage loss, and any other damages.

When occasionally Risk Management offers to pay more than uninsured medical bills, it still is not full value, not fair worth (even if it seems like a lot of money to a layman). For example, a hundred thousand dollars is not a good settlement if it should be quadruple that amount.

Invariably, the net compensation that Waterman Law Centers, PLLC has recovered from hospitals for patient injury or death always has exceeded greatly what Risk Management offered the patient or family. Moreover, Patient Advocates have not been a material factor in any medical malpractice settlement.

An award-winning medical malpractice lawyer at Waterman Law Centers, PLLC, is on your side from initial consultation to resolution. We help fight for the compensation and accountability you deserve by handling the following on your behalf: 

  • Gathering evidence such as medical records, witness statements and employment records
  • Answering all your legal questions
  • Making your claim timely and otherwise properly 
  • Negotiating with insurance companies
  • Determining who is liable for your injuries
  • Calculating your damages
  • Utilizing resources like healthcare providers and accident reconstruction specialists
  • Taking your case to trial if necessary
  • Researching medical and technical literature

We do not back down against a hospital’s Risk Management or legal counsel. As an award-winning medical malpractice lawyer, Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman, Jr., Esq, knows how to aggressively advocate for your rights and increase your chances of success by handling all legal matters on your behalf. 

Work With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Waterman Law Centers, PLLC

Risk managers are always on the side of the hospital. If the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other staff has harmed you, it is vital to seek legal guidance from an award-winning medical malpractice lawyer at Waterman Law Centers, PLLC. We represent your interests and fight for the monetary compensation you deserve for the harm you have suffered. 

Attorney Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman, Jr., Esq named to The Best Lawyers in America for Medical Malpractice during 2007-2023 and was voted “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice by his peers in Southeast Virginia in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2023; and during 2021-2023 Waterman Law Centers has been recognized as a Metropolitan Tier 1 Best Law firm for Medical Malpractice by U.S. News & World Report. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (757) 906-4707 or filling out a contact form.