How to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you believe a doctor or other healthcare professional has injured you, you may need the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney. But if you've never had a reason to hire an attorney before, the task may seem daunting. This article will give you ideas on where to find the right attorney for you.
When hiring a medical malpractice attorney, you should look for a lawyer who meets the following criteria:
- Has experience representing clients who have filed medical malpractice lawsuits
- Suggests a good strategy for handling your medical malpractice case
- Provides a realistic estimate of how much money you may recover if your case settles or goes to trial
- Charges a legal fee you believe is fair and reasonable
- Makes you feel comfortable and confident in his or her abilities, advice, and judgment
- Is someone you could foresee working with for months or longer until your case is resolved
Finding a Malpractice Attorney
There are several ways to identify medical malpractice attorneys who are qualified to handle your case. Because you might want to interview several, you may want to employ all of these tactics.
This website, Attorneys.com, offers a service that can connect you with a local medical malpractice attorney. The process is simple: Just dial 1-877-913-7222 or complete the short form on this site. After you've answered a few questions, we will provide you with contact information for at least one medical malpractice attorney in your area.
You can contact the lawyer yourself, or he or she will follow up with you within two business days.
You can also canvas your friends to see if they have had an occasion to hire a personal injury lawyer. All medical malpractice lawyers are personal injury lawyers, though not all personal injury lawyers handle medical malpractice cases. Get their feedback on whether they liked the lawyer with whom they worked. If you can find someone who has first-hand experience working with a lawyer they whole-heartedly recommend, that information can be invaluable.
Similarly, you may know a lawyer who practices a different kind of law. He or she may be able to recommend a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the issues of negligence that a medical malpractice lawsuit raises.
Preparing to Meet with a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Before selecting a lawyer, you should plan to meet and interview each attorney you are considering in what is called an initial consultation. Most attorneys, especially those who accept personal injury cases, will not charge for their time during these brief meetings.
Before the meetings, jot down some notes about what happened, any documentation you may have about the incident, and the subsequent medical bills since. Such documentation includes medical records, receipts, test results, and more.
You should also write a list of questions you'd like to ask the lawyers during the initial consultations. Here are some sample questions:
- How much experience does the lawyer have specifically with medical malpractice cases?
- What are the lawyer's impressions of your case and how much might you expect to recover?
- What would be the lawyer's legal strategy in light of the specifics of your case?
- Does the lawyer have a good database of medical expert witnesses-usually doctors themselves-to testify in medical malpractice trials?
- Does the lawyer believe you might be offered a settlement? How likely is it that you'll have to take the case all the way to trial?
- How much does the lawyer charge for his or her services, and how is payment made?
If you have any special requirements for the lawyer you hire-for example, if you need weekend appointments or someone who speaks Spanish-you should ask about these items as well.
Meeting With the Prospective Malpractice Attorneys
Just as you prepared your questions before your meeting, you'll want to take notes during the meeting about the answers. You also need to know that lawyers are bound by certain confidentiality rules, so you should feel safe in talking freely with a lawyer. Anything you say during the meeting will remain confidential even if you end up hiring a different attorney.
If several seem like good candidates, you'll want to ask for some references from previous clients, then contact them. Getting some feedback may help you decide which attorney is best for you.
Once you've made your decision, you are on your way to litigating your medical malpractice case.