Attorneys for Medical Malpractice

Parent Q&A

  • My daughter's foot has never  healed due to a  late diagnosis of a broken bone (six months after the injury)  She is still in constant pain.

    I would like to talk to a malpractice attorney to consider my options.  The recommendations on BPN are over five years old.


    Hi there,

    I'm sorry for her pain and for her experience. Is it CRPS?

    Medmal attorneys are very picky because they take cases on contingency (ie, they get a cut of the award if there is one) and the laws heavily skew toward the doctors so the cases are typically very hard to win. You need an expert witness to testify that the care your daughter received is "below the standard of care" and the awards are capped at $250k for pain and suffering (unlimited for loss of income, etc) in California. If you can go to an attorney with an "expert witness" (it should be a medical professional in the same specialty as the doctor you believe committed the malpractice), that really makes your case more compelling to them because they will (typically) first look through your daughter's medical records and determine (either themselves or they have a medical professional on staff) if there is a case so there's a lot of cost up front for them to determine if there is a case or not. You can also offer to pay for an expert witness to look through the records but that may be $5k-10k depending on how complicated your daughter's case is. So also get all her medical records so that you're ready to send it to the attorney; do it before you approach the attorneys so you don't have any delays. Some attorneys just ask you some questions and have someone review the answers so also be prepared to answer any questions about the case.

    My personal theory is that they like cases where someone (young) dies or is severely maimed for life and it's really egregious. Thankfully it doesn't sound like this happened to your daughter though I do know that "constant pain" is not minor. I found it really hard to find a medmal attorney (I also had a missed diagnosis and was in constant pain) but eventually did and eventually won my case. But I talked to a lot of attorneys who flat out told me that they didn't see this as a "250 case" (ie, worth at least $250k for the pain and suffering) even though I believed otherwise. I eventually found an attorney but only after I offered to pay for an expert witness to review the case

    Was your daughter's care through Kaiser or similar system? If so they may have an arbitration clause and there are attorneys who specialize in those cases

    Also - remember that you have a time limit from when you can file; I believe it's one year from the date that you first found out about the error or some longer time for when the error first occurred.

    There aren't many medmal attorneys out there so it's pretty easy to find them (either yelp or google). But I would definitely try to either find an expert witness or be prepared to offer to pay for one. The expert witness is really the key; you really don't have a case unless you can find one.

    In summary, I would first (a) get all your daughter's medical records in your hands (2) be prepared to answer questions about it (3) try to find an expert witness (it's easiest to do this if you know a physician personally; I wouldn't try to make an appointment with a clinician and get them to help you unless you have a personal relationship -- most clinicians are unwilling to testify against a fellow clinician, even if they don't know each other) -- before you approach an attorney. And though you may feel very emotional about this, I would focus on the facts when I talk to an attorney.

    Hope this helps.

    Unfortunately there are very few doctors that will testify against another doctor and that is what you need to win a case.Unless it is a very obvious case of malpractice you probably will have a hard time finding a lawyer to take the case.This is what happened to me.I do not want to be discouraging but am just saying be ready for this and do not get your hopes up too much.I hope it works out for you.

    If it is indeed CRPS, you will want to get into some treatment right away. I am a sufferer  for 5+ years. It is a neurological pain disorder brought on by an injury, accident, sometimes very minor. I describe the pain as  being lit on fire and .....putting it out with a baseball bat. Yes, it can get that bad. I saw 12 docs before a diagnosis, so that is common in rare, orphan diseases. I could have sued, naturally, but I focused on searching out support, off-label treatments --all with the goal of remission. Since there are no treatments and few doctors who even will treat you, your best bet is to see a pain doc/pain clinic - they have seen it all. Honestly, for me, suing them would not make them better doctors nor will it bring me peace. Furthermore, they will still be unable to handle chronic, long-term illness as this is the case for CRPS/RSD. I had to seek everyone out -of-network  (& out of pocket) including integrative medical clinics, osteopathy, and a host of others on my team to get me functioning again. Health first, then if you have the energy, try and go after them. It is expensive being sick in America.  Sending healing vibes to you~

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Recommendations Advice

2011 - 1013 Reviews

Medical malpractice referrals

Sept 2013

A friend would like to consult with a medical malpractice attorney, preferably someone who specializes in delayed diagnosis; breast cancer diagnosis would be a bonus. The friend is not looking for life-altering payoff, just compensation for costs of medical treatment and accompanying loss of income when unable to work during treatment, which she feels she wouldn't have needed had the diagnosis been timely. Direct emails to me welcome.

I asked an attorney friend of mine - I thought it was up his alley. He said no, and that he would consult Doris Cheng at the Walkup firm in San Francisco. Jessica

2007 - 2010 Reviews

Attorney with a track record?

Jan 2009

Do you know of a good Malpractice Attorney with a track record? My friend, whose husband died, is looking - based on the State Dept.Of Health Findings that the hospital was, indeed, negligent.

Call Jacqueline Mertz. Before Jacqueline became a personal injury and malpractice attorney, she was an RN. She had her own PI case that launched her into a legal career. Jacqueline Mertz 510-530-8256, office 510-206-5179 JMertz7310 [at] Jessica Behrman

Nov 2008

I'm hoping to find an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice. My son was born with cerebral palsy at a local HMO hospital. I have all of his birth records. After a nurse who also does law work went over them she said the HMO committed malpractice and fraud. His case is good. He was full term and had all his prenatals. He missed all of his milestones but is improving. We have been told by pediatric neurologists that my son will have some limitations but being he is only four we don't know to what degree his future will be limited. He has eating, strength, gait,and speech problems, etc. We have not filed a case or pursued this matter with the HMO and I know our time is running out. It's not fair that we took a perfectly healthy baby to be born and now he will have to suffer all his life. I've been told these cases can be costly and time consuming but I can't leave a stone unturned in trying to help my son's future. I know I can't beat an HMO without an attorney but if someone can guide me, if I have too, I will go into arbitration alone to try and get any help I can. I hope and pray that someone knows of an attorney who will assist us.

i am sorry to hear about your situation. you might try chris dolan at the dolan law firm in SF. good med mal attorneys are hard to find because there are limits on the amount of damages that can be recovered and also because so many cases are now bound by arbitration clauses, which if you have a bay area HMO, is probably the case. good luck and try chris dolan - he is a great attorney, if not always the easiest personality to deal with. lc

Nov 2007

I would like a recommendation for a lawyer with experience with medical malpractice. I got very bad treatment at an out-of-state hospital ER (confirmed by several doctors afterwards). Thankfully I am ok, but I lost an organ that could have been saved. I am not looking for a huge settlement, just a reputable, ethical lawyer. in need of a good lawyer

I am a physician and have worked with Galloway Lucchese Everson and Picchi in Walnut Creek, their firm is highly regarded by malpractice insurance companies and should be able to help you. virginia

Feb 2007

Does anyone know a good medical malpractice attorney? We are considering a lawsuit involving a c-section that took place in San Francisco. Thanks! Sue

The below firm is well known in the plaintiff's field, including medical malpractice. When interviewing, specifically ask for the last 3 cases they have tried to look up. (You would be surprised how many attorneys have never seen a courtroom) And, I would stay away from advertisements and yellow page ads. The below comes from the Martindale-Hubbell book which is like a internal Berkelely Parents Network book for lawyers. (PS--I don't work for them--just know them by reputation]. Firm Overview for Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer, A Professional Corporation Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer, A Professional Corporation 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1600 Oakland, California 94612-3528 (Alameda Co.) Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2079, Oakland, CA, 94604-2079 Telephone: 510-832-5411 Fax: 510-832-1918 URL: Email: Contact Us Web Site: (Main Office) lrw

2006 & Earlier

June 2005

Recently I had bad experience with Alta Bates Hospital. Is anyone could recommend a good malpractice lower in the East- Bay regarding to labor/delivery issues ? Thanks a lot. Unhappy mom

Try Dr.'s Insurance . . . my partner researched companies and they are (or at least were) reasonable. Peter Mc Grath The Doctors Insurance Agency 4340 Redwood Hwy., Suite 12 San Rafael, CA 94903-2104 415-472-3373 ext. 104 415-472-3526 Fax pmcgrath [at]

Feb 2005

Hi-- I am looking for recommendations for an experienced medical malpractice attorney in the East Bay or San Francisco. A local hospital completely missed a serious blood infection that almost took my husband's life, and I'd like to review this with an attorney. If you have any recommendations, or experiences with a malpractice suit (how do you know if you have a case? etc.) I would appreciate hearing from you. Best wishes. J

Try Steve Schear on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. I used to work with him, and he is an ethical and caring attorney who has an uncanny ability to figure out whether a case is worth pursuing. He'll also be sympathic about what happened to you. His office is a little shabby, but don't let that fool you -- he has a lot of experience, and he'll do a good job if you decide to go to court. Amy

Considering suing our pediatrician

July 2008

After thinking for quite a while, we are considering suing our previous pediatrician for malpractice. The doctor failed to diagnosis our child, and had a generally insulting behavior that ended up causing our family a lot of harm. Has anyone been through such issues? Could you recommend where to address and how to proceed? Thank you so much for any advice or recommendation.

In order to have a valid malpractice suit, the medical care has to lead to actual measurable damage to the patient. If the missed diagnosis led to medical complications, you can sue for malpractice. If it could have but didn't, then you won't have a valid suit. The doctor acting like an a--hole is often what makes people want to sue, and often will emotionally affect the jury, but doesn't have any bearing on the legal situation.

Ask your attorney to file a complaint with the California Board of Medical Examiners first.

And, instead of stating he's ''rude'', can you quote his exact words? Did he say something like, ''Only morons think autism is caused by vaccines'', or did he say, ''I don't care if your child dies''? Been there

If your child received lasting harm due to the misdiagnosis, then it may be worth talking to a lawyer. Your post, however, seems more concerned about the insulting behavior of the doctor. You said, ''[the physician] had a generally insulting behavior that ended up causing our family a lot of harm.'' As far as I know, you can't sue people for bad manners. If their is no lasting physical harm to your child, then drop the matter and find a pediatrician who is more suited to your personality.

And, personality is key -- my friend CANNOT STAND my children's pediatrician. She thinks that he is rude and condescending. I think that he is warm, caring and thorough. -anon

Hi. Suing your pediatrician is not going to do anything but take money away from the practice (other children) and contribute to the rising costs of medical care for all of us.

As an alternative I would say to contact the Medical Board of California and file a complaint. The Medical Board of California will investigate him and if he is found to be negligent, they can take his license away! He will no longer be able to practice medicine. If he is really a bad doctor, this is the best outcome for everyone. (except that you won't get $$ for yourself). anti-litigation mom

When I was in a similar situation, someone gave me the name of Tim Truett. He was the only lawyer who followed up with me. His number is (415) 989-9001. Best of luck to you. anon

When I was a child, people would sometimes threaten to sue my father, the local pediatrician. Not once was it for something he actually did wrong. Rather, they threatened to sue him if a surgery did not turn out as planned (he was not the surgeon, but they threatened him anyway), or if they needed more than one round of antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection.

This was the same man I saw sit up night after night with sick patients in the hospital, sleep with the phone under his pillow (just in case sick patients called in the night), make house calls years after doctors no longer did that, and I could go on and on.

I guess what I am trying to say is I hope you are suing your pediatrician because he actually did something extremely WRONG, and not just because he is human. Doctors are human, and sometimes they make mistakes. Did your son suffer greatly because of this doctor's inadequate care? If so, you have a case and should go forward. This will hopefully help you, and save others from receiving bad medical care. If this is not the case, please remember that doctors are not gods. Daughter of a great guy

Emotional distress from childbirth complications

March 2006

Does anyone know of a good malpractice attorney? It's for 'emotional distress' from complications of giving birth. Thanks.

I am not an attorney, but seem to have alot of friends that are so take this with a grain of salt, but I have asked these questions myself in the past. Be sure you get good advice before you hand over a retainer to an attorney. This is not the type of case that usually wins, or the type an attorney will likely take on without a retainer.

In general, an emotionally stressful incident would not qualify as malpractice if there is no actual injury or ''bad outcome'' medically- i.e. harm to the health of mother and baby directly caused by a breach of the normal standard of care. In part because all illness, and complicated deliveries, are stressful and juries tend to side with the MDs a majority of the time, even if his bedside manner is poor, unless someone has an injury requiring compensation. ''Pain and suffering'' can be added onto the compensation for medical harm, but is limited by tort reform in CA, and not awarded in absence of other injury. Same with punitive damages- have to show a gross or reckless deviation from standard of care- and usually only awarded on top of the compensation.

You should write a letter of complaint to the MD. He needs to know he how you feel, may do him some good if you approach it reasonably, and give you a small measure of satisfaction. Anon