Have you or your loved one experienced negligent medical care from a physician or hospital? If so, you may need to pursue legal action against the doctor or hospital to recover your losses. Medical malpractice is a grave mistake that often leads to devastating, costly, and sometimes irreversible damages such as disability, chronic pain, organ failure, and more.
As such, it is only fair that you seek maximum compensation for your damages with the help of a qualified medical malpractice lawyer. But you do not want to hire just anybody; medical malpractice law is a highly specialized area that requires an attorney with immense experience and expertise. A good lawyer should understand that there is overlap between legal and medical matters and know a malpractice case’s unique procedural aspects.
Make no mistake when choosing a medical malpractice lawyer: find someone who has extensive knowledge about this type of litigation and can provide you with sound advice on how to proceed.
Top 6 Tips for Finding a Good Medical Malpractice Lawyer
This comprehensive post shares actionable tips on how to succeed in your quest for a suitable medical malpractice lawyer. We will also share any other information you might need to get started.
So, what factors should you keep in mind?
1. Know What To Look For In A Medical Malpractice Attorney
The fact is, not every medical malpractice lawyer has what it takes to spearhead your case and deliver positive results.
Here’s what you should look for in a potential lawyer:
- Experience – As we hinted above, medical malpractice law is a highly specialized area that requires an attorney with overflowing experience. A qualified lawyer will have worked on hundreds of cases involving medical malpractice claims. They should have handled similar cases in the past and won them successfully.
- Knowledge – It does not matter how much experience a lawyer has if they lack an understanding of the subject matter. So you need to ensure that the lawyer you hire has enough education and training to handle your case. Ensure they have taken continuing legal education courses related to medical malpractice law.
- Competence – Another essential factor to consider is competence. How well does the lawyer do their job? Are they prompt, efficient, and responsive? Do they communicate effectively with clients? These are some of the qualities you should expect from a competent medical malpractice lawyer.
- Membership to a Recognized Association – Check if the attorney under consideration is a member of any professional association like The National Trial Lawyers. Also, consider running a quick check with the American Bar Association to see if the attorney is a member of any local bar associations in your area.
2. Do Not Hesitate to Ask Questions
You want to be 100 percent sure that you hire the right medical malpractice lawyer. Well, there is no better way than asking questions. If you do not ask questions, you risk making a wrong decision, which could cost you dearly. So, do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you would like about the lawyer you are considering.
Some of the questions that you should seek answers to before making a hiring decision include:
- How many similar cases have you handled?
- What is your philosophy when representing a medical malpractice case?
- Do you have special training that can help with my case?
- How many court and jury cases have you spearheaded, and what is your win percentage?
- Who else in your firm will work on my case?
- What are the chances of a positive outcome or settlement given the particulars of my case?
- What are the odds that the case will go to trial?
- Are there any risks if the case does not go through?
- How long should I expect this to take?
3. Discuss the Payment Arrangement
For starters, a good medical malpractice attorney should offer you a FREE, no-obligation consultation. If your prospective lawyer indicates that they charge for consultation, you should move on to another candidate.
Next, you want to ensure that the lawyer you choose offers payment arrangements that fit your budget. Some lawyers accept cash payments, while others prefer checks made out directly to their office. Others may require you to pay them upfront, while some work on a contingency basis, earning a specific percentage of the settlement, verdict, or jury award.
Last but not least, be sure to seek assurance whether the attorney will cover litigation costs. These include filing fees, depositions, accident reconstruction fees, court reporter fees, expert witness fees, etc. It also includes paying for legal research and other expenses associated with the case.
Whatever arrangement you decide on, make sure that you understand all the terms and conditions.
4. Come With Your Case Information
Before making a final decision, you will need to gather all the relevant information regarding your case.
You will need to know:
- The name of the doctor who allegedly harmed you
- The name of the hospital where you got treated
- The date(s) of treatment
- The location of the injury
- The type of injury sustained
- The cause of the injury
- The extent of the injuries
- Any pre-existing condition that might have contributed to the harm
5. Weigh Your Options
So you have gathered all the critical information you need to find an excellent medical malpractice lawyer and have settled on a few potential candidates. Now what? It is time to weigh your options thoroughly, as you can only work with one attorney. Conduct thorough research to establish the best fit.
Here are a few tips:
- Dig into each candidate’s biographical background. Do they specialize in medical practice law? Do they have a medical practice background? Perhaps unsurprisingly, some doctors opt for a career change, obtaining a license to practice law. Are they willing to share their expertise with you?
- Check out their website. Does it give you an idea of how the lawyer approaches cases? Can you get a sense of their personality from reading their bio? Do they have case studies about their success in handling medical malpractice cases? Does the website have info specific to their education or training on handling medical malpractice cases?
- Ask friends, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances for referrals. Your inner circle may be an invaluable resource for finding a good medical malpractice lawyer. If they throw a few names your way, be sure to evaluate them individually, given other considerations.
- Check online reviews. Do a Google search for the medical malpractice lawyers you are considering. You will see what previous clients say about them. Read through these reviews carefully to determine which ones are legitimate.
- Ask attorneys in other specialties. If you have a lawyer or contact in other specialties, ask them for recommendations. They are likely familiar with experienced medical malpractice attorneys they have worked or interacted with in the past.
- Call a bar association in your state, city, or county. If the above options cannot help you find a befitting candidate, it is time to take your search a notch higher. Call the local bar association in your area. Ask if any lawyers specialize in medical malpractice. The answer should be yes, as many states require every lawyer to be licensed by the state bar association.
6. Make a Decision
Hopefully, after weighing your options, you will find it hassle-free to narrow down to the most suitable candidate to handle your case. Make sure you choose someone who meets your needs and expectations. A good medical malpractice lawyer should provide you with quality legal services at affordable rates. They should also be willing to meet with you in person to discuss your situation.
Get in Touch With the Lawyer
Once you settle on one suitable medical malpractice lawyer to represent you after completing a thorough search, you must determine what comes next. It is time to reach out to their law firm via phone, email, or website. You can use the information provided by the lawyer’s website to set up a consultation.
During this initial consultation, you want to seek answers to some vital information such as:
- What percentage of the lawyer’s cases does medical malpractice comprise? The higher, the better.
- What will they expect from you? Aside from providing the necessary documentation and material facts of the case, there are some roles your attorney will expect you to play. Seek clarification of these duties, so you do not overstep or go missing when needed.
- How many medical malpractice cases has the lawyer settled outside court compared to those that have gone to trial? If the lawyer has a reputation for settling claims, the insurance companies are likely aware of it, which may affect your settlement.
- Request a one-on-one meeting. Some matters are too weighty to get ironed out virtually. You need a face-to-face meeting with your attorney to ensure you understand everything about your case. But you shouldn’t be quick to call off an attorney just because they won’t meet you one-on-one on short notice. The best medical malpractice lawyers usually have a lot on their plate, so it helps to book them in advance.
What Should You Show Your Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Having decided on a medical malpractice lawyer to work with, you need to hit the ground running. And there’s no better starting point than providing them with all the relevant information and documents they need to prepare for the trial and table an indisputable argument.
Here’s a quick review of what you should show your attorney:
- Medical records. These are arguably the most important documents required for the case. If you claim that a physician injured you while performing a surgical procedure, your medical records reflect what happened. But don’t worry if you don’t have the documents, as your lawyer can obtain them for you from the hospital.
- Police report. A police report may also add weight to your claim when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is especially true when negligence caused the alleged injury.
- Prescription drug information. If you were prescribed medication, you must provide the manufacturer’s name, dosage, strength, and quantity of each prescription. Also, include any other pertinent information regarding the medications.
- Lost wages information. Has your medical malpractice injury caused you to miss work? If so, your lawyer will need your to provide records of your wage information before and after the injury. The goal is to help you seek maximum compensation for the lost time and future loss of earnings.
- Medical bills and invoices. Have you incurred significant medical expenses due to the incident? Provide copies of all the bills and invoices related to the treatment.
- Insurance information. Do you have health insurance? If so, give your lawyer that information so they can determine the scope of your coverage.
Now that you have a helpful understanding of how the medical malpractice claim process operates, contact a reputable law firm today. Schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation, and let a skilled medical malpractice lawyer help you get speedy justice and maximum compensation for your injuries.