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How Do Malpractice Attorneys Decide Whether to Take a Case
Malpractice lawsuits can be very expensive and very lengthy processes. Because of this large time-commitment, some malpractice attorneys may opt to turn down your case if they feel it cannot be won or would not yield a large verdict.
If you believe you have a valid malpractice suit, you will need to seek out a competent medical malpractice attorney to represent you. To help you in your search for an attorney, it will benefit you to know what criteria a malpractice lawyer looks at to determine whether to take on a claim.
Malpractice Claim Criteria
To understand how malpractice attorneys determine whether to represent a client, it is important to understand what constitutes malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional breaches his or her standard of care, causing injury to a patient. The standard of care is the rule of thumb for how a patient should normally be treated and will vary depending on the patient's age, condition and, oftentimes, geographic location. This violation of the standard of care is called negligence, and to win a medical malpractice claim, you and your attorney must prove that the doctor's negligent action directly caused your injury.
Malpractice can occur at any time during medical treatment. In some instances, a misdiagnosis can constitute malpractice. In other cases, improper treatment or medication can constitute malpractice. However, it is important to remember that malpractice can be difficult to prove, and so a misdiagnosis or improper treatment on its own does not always constitute malpractice.
Important Information for Malpractice Attorneys
Malpractice attorneys will want to review information related to your medical history and treatment prior to accepting your claim. The reason for this is so that they can make an informed decision based on the evidence you present. If you provide any information that reflects a breach of a standard of care, an attorney will be more likely to accept your claim.
It is important that you organize any paperwork you think might help inform the attorney about your case prior to your first meeting. Documents you may wish to bring along to your initial meeting include:
- Photographs of your injuries
- Letters from the hospital or health care provider
- Letters from your insurance carrier
- Information pertaining to your medical history
- Receipts from any medical bills you have paid
- Notes you have recorded about your condition and treatment
What if the Attorney Rejects My Case?
Medical malpractice attorneys may choose to reject your case. However, you should not necessarily get discouraged if this happens. Malpractice lawsuits are lengthy procedures, and a lawyer may not have the time to take on your claim. If one attorney is unable to handle your case, you should consider talking to another lawyer.
At other times, a lawyer may tell you that you have a weak case. If this happens, seek a second opinion from another attorney. However, if the second lawyer agrees that your case is weak, you may want to consider dropping your case.