Can I negotiate with a hospital/radiologist on my own?

I had a double mastectomy 10 years ago and reconstructive surgery with silicone breast implants. The implants were perfect and all was well for 9 years. Then I started to have occasional pain in the left breast. I really didn’t pay any attention until it kept me from sleeping one night. I called my plastic surgeon, who referred me for an MRI. The radiologist said that the left implant had ruptured. I opted to have both implants replaced at the same time. The surgeon removed the implants and found there was no rupture. And now I have capsular contracture of the left implant. My options are either to undergo another surgery, try an experimental ultrasound therapy or do nothing. I feel that I had to undergo needless surgery, I am out the surgeons’s fee of $1200, plus I have the added costs of repairing the contracted implant. I have not been able to find an attorney to take this on as the damages are so minor.

Asked on April 21, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice cases can be expensive (the need for medical expert testimony), are not certain (i.e. it's not guaranteed to win), and can take a long time to be paid even when they are successful, so a $1,200+ case is, as you've found out, not worth most attorney's time.
Legally, you can negotiate with the medical care providers yourself--you could even file a case yourself ("pro se"). For the amount of money at stake, this may be the best option; you may wish to imply that while you prefer to handle this yourself and resolve the matter amicably, you feel very strongly about how you were treated and will hire an attorney if necessary, to seek vindication. You want them to take you seriously  and decide that providing some compensation is a small price to pay to avoid a potential lawsuit with someone with wants justice or satisfaction, regardless of cost.

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