FAQs

What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is synonymous with medical negligence and occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care and harms a patient as a result of failing to meet that standard. Not all injuries or bad outcomes constitute malpractice, which is why it is important to hire a firm with both medical expertise as well as experience in managing medical malpractice lawsuits. We will review your medical records comprehensively to determine whether you have a valid malpractice claim and explain the strengths and weaknesses of your potential case. There is no charge for reviewing your case.

Who can be held accountable for medical malpractice?
Every doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider in Montana is subject to Montana laws governing medical negligence. We will determine which parties are responsible for your sub-standard care.

What kinds of cases does Steve Harman Law handle?
As you saw on our main page, we represent injured patients in medical malpractice and personal injury claims of all types, including:

• Birth injuries
• Wrongful death
• Surgical errors
• Nursing errors
• Retained foreign objects
• Prescription medication errors
• Misdiagnosis & diagnostic errors
• Delays in diagnosis and treatment
• Failure to treat
• Failure to warn
• Nursing home abuse and neglect
• Informed consent
• Brain and spinal cord injuries
• Automobile and motorcycle accidents
• Products liability
• Workplace and sports injuries

What costs are involved in pursuing a case?
Health care providers and their liability insurance companies defend themselves vigorously. Medical malpractice claims are costly because Montana law requires the testimony of expert witnesses supporting that a health care provider is liable for the damages they caused. Expenses in some cases can run as much as $50,000-100,000 or even more, depending on the nature of your claim and the number of expert witnesses required. We advance those costs on your behalf in exchange for a percentage of any funds recovered. If you do not recover an award by settlement or jury verdict, there is no fee to you.

What is mediation?
Mediation is an inexpensive opportunity to settle a case outside the courtroom. A mediator is a neutral person, typically a lawyer or judge, who listens to each side and works with the parties to come to an agreement. The mediation process is confidential and usually takes less than a day. There is no guarantee of settlement. If the parties do not reach an agreement, they are free to go to trial. Trials are time consuming and costly and typically do not occur until years after the injury occurs. There is no guaranteed result when going to trial and even if a jury verdict is obtained, an appeal by the opposing party can extend litigation for years. Mediation serves to resolve disputes timely. Money is paid to the injured client typically within a few weeks.

Will my case go to trial?
Not every case is appropriate for trial. Every individual need must be considered. Knowing when to settle and when to go to trial requires a complex analysis of the facts of your case as well as the applicable law. Steve is a highly skilled negotiator, mediator, and trial attorney and he will not allow his clients to be victimized by insurance companies or the legal system.

What is the typical process for handling potential medical negligence and personal injury claims?
We begin by listening. We are interested in hearing your story. What is your injury? When and where were you harmed? Who caused the injury? What damages have you suffered because of this injury? We will likely interview you as well as members of your family.

Here, personal injury and medical malpractice claims diverge. Medical negligence claims require a careful screening of your medical records to determine whether there was a failure to meet the standard of care. Ultimately, these claims require the supporting testimony of medical expert(s). At Steve Harman Law, we review your medical records ourselves and consult with experts as appropriate, one of the many advantages of having a medical doctor and a registered nurse right here at the firm. We thoroughly review your medical records for evidence of negligent care and advise whether your case is likely to succeed at the Montana Medical Legal Panel and/or in a court of law.

Every injured patient is important to us. We will take the time to explain legal principles related to negligence and answer any questions you may have. If your case is unlikely to succeed, we can provide information to enable you and your family to pursue alternative avenues of relief. At Steve Harman Law, we are committed to personalized care that is focused on your individual needs.

What kind of expert do I need?
Our unique backgrounds and experience have enabled us to associate with medical experts in nearly every specialty. We also maintain established relationships with experts vital to a variety of personal injury claims, including accident reconstruction, vocational rehabilitation, life care planners, economists, and accountants. Other attorneys frequently consult Steve Harman Law to obtain access to these experts for their own cases.

What is your practice area?
Attorney Steve Harman is currently licensed to practice law anywhere in the State of Montana. Our firm is located in Billings, Montana, but Steve has obtained verdicts in nearly every corner of the state. Steve also co-counsels with attorneys in surrounding states to help them manage complex medical negligence cases, so don’t hesitate to give us a call from Wyoming or the Dakotas. Attorney Ralph Matthews sits for the Universal Bar Exam in Montana in February 2022. This exam will enable Ralph to become licensed to practice law in most states.

Are you successful in the courtroom?
Steve and his team obtained one of the largest malpractice verdicts in Yellowstone County and Eastern Montana, in addition to a multitude of settlements in the million-dollar range. We are proud of our trial record against some of the best trial lawyers in the state. 45 years of litigation and trial experience mean that Steve Harman Law will see your case through.

Do you work with other attorneys?
We welcome the opportunity to associate and work with other attorneys and generally support any lawyer who represents patients or injured parties. We routinely establish fee arrangements to co-counsel on medical negligence claims. This comes at no additional cost to the client. We also welcome referrals from lawyers who are inexperienced or uncomfortable with handling medical malpractice cases.