Things to Consider When Hiring Malpractice Lawyers
If you've never hired a lawyer before, it may be hard to choose from among the many medical malpractice lawyers in your area. How can you narrow it down to the very best candidate for your lawsuit? This article will guide you through the things to consider when hiring malpractice attorneys.
You should assess many factors when summing up prospective malpractice lawyers, including:
- The attorneys' background, experience, and legal skills
- The strategy they suggest for trying your medical malpractice lawsuit
- Their estimate on the potential award you could receive, as well as projected legal fees and expenses
- Your level of comfort and confidence you have in the attorneys you are considering
Before You Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
It is important to meet with all of the attorneys you are considering hiring. Most medical malpractice attorneys will meet you for a brief introductory meeting, called an initial consultation, for free.
At the meeting, you will have a golden opportunity to get some information about the prospective attorneys, as well as some feedback about the strength of your case. This is very important information that will help you in your selection.
Background, Experience & Legal Skills
No special training or certification is required for lawyers to call themselves "medical malpractice lawyers" or "personal injury attorneys." They only need to pass their state's bar exam, which is administered to all lawyers, and to meet the state licensing requirements. Therefore, it's important to learn about the specific experience each lawyer you're considering hiring has in medical malpractice lawsuits.
When meeting a medical malpractice attorney, you'll need to figure out whether he or she has the experience and track record necessary to handle your case. Find out how long the lawyer has been tackling medical malpractice lawsuits, how many of these cases he or she handles each year, and what other types of cases the lawyer takes. The answers will help you figure out what percentage of the lawyer's workload is composed of medical malpractice cases.
Suggested Strategy for Handling Your Medical Malpractice Case
When you go to the initial consultation, you should take with you whatever documentation you have regarding your suspected case of medical malpractice. Bring any documents you think help show liability on the part of your healthcare provider. The lawyers will want to hear some specifics about what happened and will probably have some questions for you. Their insight is invaluable, so listen carefully to determine how strong a case you have.
Then it's your turn to ask some questions. Find out how what approach each medical malpractice lawyer would suggest given your particular set of circumstances. There are no right or wrong answers here, but you should ask yourself if the proposed strategy sounds solid to you and reflects your values.
Even if your doctor had made a mistake while treating you, you are not guaranteed to win a lawsuit.
Also Consider Awards, Fees & Expenses
Money is another important area to cover in an initial consultation. You will want to get their estimate of what they think your case is worth. And you'll also want to get an estimate of the legal fees and expenses that will affect your bottom line.
You may already have some idea how much your healthcare-inflicted injury has cost you so far. But you may also be entitled to money to cover future expenses related to your injury, including harder-to-quantify compensation for pain and suffering and harm to your marital relationship.
Ask the lawyers you interview if they are familiar with your particular injury and how they will establish a fair award. If the estimate is substantially different from others you have received, you'll want to find out why.
When discussing possible financial awards, make sure you ask for separate estimates if your case settles and if goes all the way to court.
Comfort & Trust in Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Even if you have no idea how medical malpractice law works, you should still be able to discern whether an attorney is qualified to take your case from an objective perspective. But your subjective perspective is important, too. This means you have to figure out if you are comfortable with a lawyer you interviewed, if you can trust the lawyer, and whether you feel confident in his or her advice and judgment.