Practice/Industry Group Overview
A staggering proportion of physicians, including those in so-called “low-risk” specialties, will be subjected to medical malpractice allegations during their careers. Faced with a lawsuit, even the best physician’s judgment, integrity and ability to practice are on the line. Hospitals and skilled nursing facilities and their medical and paramedical employees also are habitual targets of malpractice litigation. As a result, the modern practice of medicine is of necessity dependent on consistent and capable legal assistance.
Our practice attorneys, many of whom have the benefit of prior careers in medicine, are familiar with the substance and nuance of every medical field.
For more than 30 years, Wilson Elser has repeatedly been chosen to defend medical practitioners and facilities in multimillion-dollar lawsuits. Our practice attorneys, many of whom have the benefit of prior careers in medicine, are familiar with the substance and nuance of every medical field, including but not limited to obstetrics, orthopedics, oncology, anesthesia, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery. Their depth of knowledge coupled with the firm’s heritage and continued strength in insurance defense has attracted a large and growing clientele, including nationally renowned physicians and premier teaching hospitals. We also represent dentists, nurses, paramedics, podiatrists, radiologists, pathologists, counselors, social workers and other members of the allied health professions as well as managed care organizations and privately run emergency rooms.
Nursing home litigation, fueled by the relative absence of caps and the awarding of outsized punitive damages, has increased dramatically over the past few years. Intimately familiar with related state and federal regulations, our attorneys defend nursing home malpractice claims through all phases of litigation. We also implement carefully crafted strategies that are designed to limit or avoid punitive damages available to plaintiffs under statute.
Whether the matter is simple and local or complex and multijurisdictional, clients value our considered approach to medical malpractice and health care defense and the extensive resources we apply against this practice. Among them are our skilled paralegals, several of whom are registered nurses, dedicated to reviewing medical records and researching medical materials. As a leader in technological case management, we use the most sophisticated equipment available to research, synthesize and store medical and legal information.
To mount more effective defenses for our clients, we additionally consult medical experts from several of the nation’s most respected institutions, including surgeons and professors from leading teaching hospitals and authorities from the National Institutes of Health. We are poised to assist health care professionals and facilities from the outset of a potential problem with knowledgeable and vigorous litigation support. If required, we draw on our vast experience defending clients at disciplinary hearings before professional boards.
Of course, the best way to counter medical malpractice lawsuits is to prevent their occurrence. Experience helps us recognize when medical practice and facility operations can be modified to reduce the risk of professional liability claims. We routinely present seminars on topics such as proper charting and effective communication among health care practitioners and with their patients. We also conduct mock trials as part of our risk management services.
In addition to our litigation, representation and risk management services, Wilson Elser assists medical facilities and practitioners with myriad business transactions and disputes. Among many transactional matters, our attorneys:
- Defend major health care insurers in payment and reimbursement disputes
- Review contracts with vendors, employees and other providers
- Assist in the formation of joint ventures and other business relationships
- Draft offering memoranda and related documents
- Prepare medical, facility and group governing board documents and bylaws
- Handle a wide variety of regulatory and operational issues in connection with HIPAA, EMTALA, the Stark provisions, Medicare conditions of participation and state licensing boards.
We also draw on our Albany, NY, office’s multidisciplinary blend of experience and innovative counsel in addressing complex health care matters that require state and federal government interaction. These include development and construction of health care facilities; strategic planning for health care reform; health care professional licensing and disciplinary matters; activities involving governance, medical staff, contracting, employment and recruitment; government audits, surveys, investigations and hearings; and HIPAA and HITECH privacy, security and breach notification rules.