Wrongful Death Case

Dr. Matthew H. H. Young, MD, JD, CMQ, Esq.

Dr. Matthew H. H. Young, MD, JD, CMQ, Esq.

Founder & Executive Director,
Patient Advocacy Organization and Resource (PAOR)

Fatality in 2018

At least a dozen law firms refused to help this family. How one daughter’s persistence saved the day.

This case is a testament to perseverance. The mother from a large family died as a result of negligence in a hospital. Her daughter went from law firm to law firm asking for help with her mother’s wrongful death, because she suspected malpractice, but not a single attorney would take her case. Not to be dissuaded, the daughter finally found a law firm that figured out what went wrong. Luckily, the statute of limitations had not yet run — though the plaintiff came awfully close to it. Had the statute passed, the family would have been completely barred from bringing the lawsuit.

Three lessons emerge from this case study — all of which cite back to the Ten Commandments for Prospective Plaintiffs:

Commandment Number 7: Thou shalt seek the best possible legal counsel.

Commandment Number 8: Thou shalt seek legal counsel with all deliberate speed.

Commandment Number 9: Thou shalt not stop seeking legal counsel until all options have been exhausted.

The previous law firms that this daughter went to probably told her she didn’t have a case or rejected the case because they likely were not knowledgeable enough to know and understand the underlying medicine and pathophysiology that caused her mother’s death. “The eye does not see what the mind does not know.” This is why it is critical to find the best legal counsel, because you can get the wrong recommendations if your lawyers don’t understand your case.

Furthermore, because this daughter, through no fault of her own, kept running into incapable legal counsel, she kept edging closer and closer to the statute of limitations. Every lawyer or law firm would probably take several months to review the case, only to tell her she had no case or that they couldn’t help her. This is why it is critical not to wait and why one must seek legal counsel quickly, because every lawyer that tells you they can’t help amounts to an additional delay that pushes a case closer to the looming statute of limitations.

Finally, the most illustrative aspect of this case is the importance of not giving up in one’s search for legal counsel. Even though this daughter had been rejected by more than a dozen law firms, she refused to give up on her mother’s case. It must be pretty demoralizing and discouraging if a dozen lawyers or firms tell you that you don’t have a case or that they cannot help. However, it is unlikely that every single law firm actually reviewed or vetted the case properly because many will just hear how many prior attorneys rejected the case and be biased against taking the case — then, when they review the case, it may done in a superficial manner, and confirmation bias will creep in and reaffirm in that lawyer’s mind the hypothesis that there is no case. The point is, prospective plaintiffs must be relentless: do not give up in your search for a lawyer until you have exhausted all options. You may very well have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, but just haven’t found the right attorney or an attorney who knows what to look for and understands what they’re looking at.


Wrongful Death Case was last modified: September 20th, 2020 by Matthew H. H. Young, M.D., Esq.

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PAOR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating and serving Pennsylvania patients and families who are concerned that they may have been harmed by medical malpractice.