Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does it cost to review a case?
Nothing! Reviews by our medical legal team are FREE. We advance the costs necessary to investigate and file the claim, if the case appears to have merit. Costs advanced are reimbursed to us at the case’s conclusion, after we make a financial settlement. If your case does not settle, we charge you nothing as a fee and nothing in expenses. Our medical device and pharmaceutical trial teams litigate cases from all across America; appear in all courts and jurisdictions.
How much money can I receive from a settlement or judgment?
Case value depends upon many factors, including, liability of the manufacturer, nature and extent of the injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent disability, economic losses, such as, lost wages and medical bills. While figures exist based upon past results in verdicts or settlements of similar cases, no guaranteed method can predict the future.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee is not paid until, and unless, there is a successful financial outcome of a claim. Most medical device, pharmaceutical and personal injury cases use a contingency fee contract because plaintiffs often can’t afford to pay an attorney for services rendered on an hourly basis. If we recover nothing for a client, we receive no fee.
Will my case go to trial?
The vast majority of claims we file settle before trial, without court or jury. In many of our cases, the manufacturers will settle all of our claims, rather than go to trial with us. Since no one can predict whether or not a case will settle, our medical legal trial attorneys prepare all cases for trial. In many instances, hundreds to thousands of claims will be heard in the order they are filed, therefore, we suggest you begin the claims process as soon as possible.
What is the statute of limitations (time limit) to make a claim for injuries?
Most states have a one year, two year or three year time limit from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit, but it varies with each type of case. Many states have a Discovery Rule that centers on when the actual injury was discovered or when the injury should have reasonably been discovered. So, the role of the Discovery Rule is to toll the calendar date of the time limit from the origination point of the civil wrong. Instead, it is moved to a point where the wrong was discovered or when it should have reasonably been discovered. If you believe that you have a claim where the statute of limitations may be running, we urge you to contact us immediately.
What do I have to do to begin a lawsuit?
In medical device litigation, we must prove from medical records the name of the medical device implanted. This product ID should appear in the operating room records or the report of operation. In pharmaceutical litigation, the pharmacy dispensing the drug will have a copy of the records. To have this medical proof to file the claim, we assist in obtaining your medical records for you after you sign a contract and a medical request. In limited situations, we may obtain an affidavit from your health care provider if your medical records are not available. In drug cases, we need proof of the prescription from the pharmacy that filled the prescription or doctor prescribing the drug.
Will I sue my doctor?
In most circumstances, we do not sue your doctor, but will sue the manufacturer. Note that most doctors are on the side of the patient and acknowledge they would never have implanted a dangerous medical device or prescribed a dangerous drug had they known of the risks and been warned of the health issues involved.
Where is my lawsuit filed?
Most medical device and pharmaceutical cases follow Multi-District Litigation (MDL), which consolidates all cases filed in the U.S. into one court. An MDL is formed when a panel of U.S. Federal judges’ believe that cases with common facts and issues should be centralized into one court to further the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. The MDL judges determine where that court will be located.
What is consolidation?
Consolidation allows for one judge to make consistent rulings on how the cases should proceed. The cases exist as individual lawsuits, but one judge hears all of the evidence and makes rulings. Depending on the particular circumstances and the status of the litigation, however, some cases may not be consolidated and may be filed individually in state court.
Will I have to give a deposition or go to trial?
In most circumstances, clients do not give depositions nor appear in court. If you are called to give a deposition, you will be prepared beforehand by an attorney that will review the facts of your case and assist you. In MDL litigation, typically, a few select cases, called a trial pool, will be tried before a jury. Unless your case is in the trial pool, you most likely will not be in trial.
What is mediation?
Customarily, courts order the parties to mediation to present each side of the case before a mediator. This process encourages settlement negotiations before trial and most cases are settled at, or shortly after, mediation.
What if the claimant is deceased?
In most circumstances, we can assist the surviving spouse, child or another close relative to become qualified to serve as the personal representative of the estate of the decedent.
Can you represent me if I live in California or Florida?
Yes, we represent clients across the nation and in every state in the United States.
My doctor says I shouldn’t get involved. What should I do?
We depend on doctors for medical advice, not legal advice. The only way to find out which medical device you now, or in the past have had implanted, is to discover your hospital records which contain the product identification. This label contains identifying information with the name, manufacturer, model and lot numbers of your particular implant. For drug cases, your pharmacy will have a record of the drug prescribed.
Will I need to have another surgery?
This is your decision to discuss with your doctor. We always recommend anyone undergoing surgery to get a second opinion from another doctor. Some of our clients have elected to not undergo another surgery and others have had no relief of symptoms after surgery.
How is your firm qualified to represent me?
Carolyn St. Clair has dedicated her practice to national medical device and pharmaceutical litigation with decades of experience representing people injured, disabled, diseased and dying. We understand the complex scientific, medical, legal, and economic issues involved representing plaintiffs who have been injured by defective drugs and medical devices. Attorneys, medical professionals and other clients from all over the nation refer their clients to Carolyn St. Clair.