Professional Liability and Medical Malpractice

Every industry and business relies on a number of different professionals to dispense advice and provide expert services. However, it’s no longer unusual for headlines to spotlight professionals who stand accused of malfeasance or corruption for work they’ve performed for both public and private entities.

The downturn in the economy ushered in a rise in professional liability lawsuits as dissatisfied clients looked for people to blame for financial losses and complex business deals gone awry. Other factors contributing to the increase in professional liability claims are legislative changes, such as RICO and Sarbanes-Oxley, and the “deep pockets” doctrine of many plaintiffs and plaintiffs’ attorneys. The HITECH Act of 2009 increased the civil penalties and created criminal penalties for HIPAA violations. While these cases most often affect the medical and legal professions, accountants, architects, engineers, design professionals, financial advisors, real estate brokers, insurance agents, therapists, dentists, corporate officers and directors, and even clergy members face legal exposure.

Christian & Small defends a variety of professional malpractice claims in all state and federal courts in Alabama. We also represent professionals in disciplinary and licensing proceedings before administrative agencies and licensing boards. Whether your goal is to seek a favorable outcome at trial or negotiate a settlement without going to court, our professional liability team will work to understand the details of your case and work with you to chart a strategy for the best possible resolution. Our attorneys have the legal skills, industry-specific knowledge and ethical grounding to make it happen.

Medical Malpractice

Medical liability claims were rare until the 1970s in the United States. Since then, the number of medical malpractice lawsuits has reached epidemic proportions. The average cost of a malpractice claim has risen to the hundreds of thousands, and beyond the financial toll of each claim, comes the rising cost of med mal insurance and professional liability premiums, stress, damage to professional reputation and distraction from what most doctors want to do most – practice good medicine.

Christian & Small’s medical malpractice attorneys are highly respected for their vigorous defense of health care providers and practitioners against the complicated and often emotion-filled claims of malpractice. Our attorneys are counsel to several large hospitals and professional liability insurers and have successfully defended numerous cases involving a multitude of claims. Over 50 years of expertise affords our medical malpractice defense group access to a substantial network of resources and comprehensive knowledge of the standard of care, medical procedures and techniques, and the special concerns of expert witnesses.

Our aggressive approach to defending medical malpractice claims includes analyzing each case to see if the plaintiff has met the burden of proving negligence, medical mistakes or errors in treatment, unreasonable care and injury. Alabama, like many states, has ruled that capping damage award limits is unconstitutional, so the stakes are always high in terms of future and past medical expenses and non-economic damages.

In addition to our experience in civil courtrooms, Christian & Small attorneys have represented doctors and health care providers in administrative actions brought by federal government agencies, such as Medicare and Medicaid, medical licensing board and professional review hearings. We realize that each medical malpractice claim presents a personal and professional burden to health care businesses and the individual physicians. Our goal in each case is to alleviate some of that burden.

Representative Matters
  • Secured defense verdict for general surgeon accused of medical negligence in a wrongful death case.
  • Secured summary judgement for a radiologist group concerning its disputed use of a contract medium.
  • Secured summary judgement for hospital in eye injury, medical malpractice case.
  • Secured summary judgement for physician accused of misdiagnosis and over treatment of cancer.
  • Successfully defended general surgeon. The Plaintiff claimed in excess of $400,000 in past medical expenses and $350,000 in lost wages due to permanent disability.  Her husband also made a claim for loss of consortium. Jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the surgeon.
  • Secured motion to dismiss for physician in wrongful death case.