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Medical malpractice law is incredibly complex and varies from state to state. In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must understand the specific laws in your state. There are often certain steps you must take in order to notify the medical professional you are suing, and there are other principal rules that may apply in your case. 

It is important to seek legal counsel if you think you may have a medical malpractice case, as the laws can be confusing, and the consequences of filing a lawsuit can be significant.

If you believe you might be in the middle of one, here are some of the basics that you should know.

What Are the Duties of the Carrier?

1) Defense and Indemnity 

The carrier has the duty to defend and indemnify the physician for any claims brought against the physician. This means that the carrier will provide a defense for the physician in any legal action and will also pay any damages that are awarded to the plaintiff.

2) Retaining Counsel

When a lawsuit is filed, an insurance carrier will generally assign a lawyer who has been approved to work on its case. The carrier will often honor a physician’s request for a specific attorney.

3) Consent to Settle

Some insurance policies have a clause requiring the insurance carrier to obtain the physician’s consent to settle a case. This clause gives the insurance company the power to make the final decision regarding any settlement.

What Are the Duties of the Insured Physician?

1) Prompt Notice

Physicians should provide prompt notice of any potential claims or lawsuits against them to their insurance carrier in order to preserve coverage. An insured physician’s failure to provide prompt notice could jeopardize the carrier’s obligations both to defend and to indemnify.

2)  Cooperation 

Physicians must cooperate with their insurance carrier in the investigation and defense of any claims. This includes providing timely and complete information to the carrier and appearing for any required hearings or depositions.

Common Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

1) Improper Treatment

In order to prove that you have a valid medical malpractice case, you must be able to show that the doctor failed to meet the accepted standard of care for that particular medical situation. 

Additionally, you must be able to show that the doctor’s negligence caused you harm. Finally, you must be able to quantify the damages that you’ve suffered as a result of the doctor’s negligence.

2) Failure to Warn of Known Risks

A medical professional must tell a patient of all the known risks for any procedure or treatment. When it comes to medical procedures and treatments, it’s essential for patients to be aware of all the risks involved. This includes both the risks that are common to the procedure or treatment, as well as any risks that are specific to the individual patient.

It’s the responsibility of the medical professional to inform the patient of all the risks, and patients should ask any questions they have about potential risks before agreeing to any procedure or treatment.

3) Failure to Diagnose

One of the most severe consequences of incorrectly diagnosing a health condition is that the patient may not receive the prompt medical attention they need. For example, if a doctor diagnoses a patient who has lung cancer with something less grave, the patient will not get the care they need to treat their cancer. 

If another medical professional in the same position correctly diagnosed the patient and administered appropriate care, the patient may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.


Filing a medical malpractice case can be an intense and complicated process.  It is important to have a clear understanding of what you are filing for and to have representation from an experienced lawyer.  The potential outcome of a medical malpractice case can be significant, so it is important to weigh all of your options before making a decision.

If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer in Birmingham, AL as soon as possible. The attorneys at MHM Firm can help you determine if you have a case and guide you through the process. Contact us today to learn more.