Questions to Ask When Interviewing Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The prospect of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may seem overwhelming, especially if you've never hired a lawyer before. But armed with the right questions, you will be able to interview Massachusetts malpractice lawyers and find the best one for you.
The steps to finding a lawyer are simple enough:
- Use your network of friends and colleagues or the services of Attorneys.com to get the name of one or more Massachusetts malpractice lawyers in your area
- Meet them for an introductory chat, called an initial consultation
- Hire the one who has the experience you need, a strategy you trust, and whose advice and judgment are spot on
The magic happens at the initial consultations. This is where you can interview your prospective lawyers to see if they match the criteria you want in a lawyer. But they, too, will be interviewing you to learn about the circumstances that led you to need a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer. They will give you important feedback, so you can understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Whether you are in Boston or Pittsfield or any place in between, most Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyers are willing to get together for an initial consultation for free, but double check if there will be any charge when you are booking the appointment.
Questions to Ask Massachusetts Malpractice Lawyers<.h3>
Before arriving at that first initial consultation, put together a list of questions you want to ask each lawyer. The answers to these questions will help you find the right lawyer for your case. This article suggests a number of potential questions. Feel free to pick and choose, and to add some of your own, as well.
You'll want to bring these prepared questions with you to the initial consultations, as well as a pen and paper to record the answers and any impressions you may have. Also, bring with you any documentation you have regarding the mistake your healthcare provider made that caused your injury, such as medical records and bills.
Background & Experience
Begin the meeting by asking about the Massachusetts malpractice lawyers questions about their education and professional experience, such as:
- How long have you practiced law in Massachusetts? How long have you practiced medical malpractice law?
- Where did you get your law degree? And undergraduate degree?
- Do you belong to any bar associations or professional organizations? Which ones?
- Do you take other kinds of cases as well, or do you solely represent medical malpractice victims?
- On average, how many medical malpractice cases do you take each year?
- How many medical malpractice lawsuits do you settle each year? How many do you take to court?
- Have you handled cases similar to mine, cases involving a similar set of circumstances or injury? How frequently?
Assessment of Your Case
The lawyers are sure to ask you some questions about the medical mistake and your subsequent injuries. After answering their questions, ask a few of your own to get a better handle on what's in store for you. Consider asking:
- What is your assessment of my case?
- What kind of money could it bring in if the case settled? And if it went to court?
- What are the strengths of my case? What are the weaknesses?
- What are the odds that we would have to go to trial?
- Is arbitration or mediation an option?
- How long should I expect my case to take?
Legal Philosophy & Style
Ask the lawyer about his or her approach and style when it comes to practicing law. Among some of the questions you could ask are:
- How would you describe your philosophy or approach to practicing the law?
- How do you specifically approach medical malpractice lawsuits?
- What is your style with respect to clients? Will you ask me to make decisions, or will you tell me what I should do?
To better understand what to expect as your case makes its way through the legal process, be sure to ask questions about case management, including:
- Will you be the one personally handling my case, or will another attorney do that?
- Will you personally handle negotiations and be at court appearances?
- Will you be my day-to-day contact? And if not, then who would that person be?
- Will other attorneys at your firm work on my case? In what capacity?
- Will you provide regular progress reports? How often? What will they include?
- How do you prefer to communicate? How fast would you get back to me?
You should definitely ask about the costs associated with your case. You do not want any surprises. Some questions to ask include:
- How do you charge for your legal services? Do you use a contingency fee or charge an hourly rate?
- Do you require a retainer fee?
- If we do not get a settlement or win the case, will I owe you any money?
- What other expenses will I pay? Can you give me estimates for them?
- Can you show me some examples of how much money I could take home after legal fees and expenses if we settle the case? If we go to trial?
Finishing Your Meeting
Before leaving, close your initial consultations with one last question for the attorney: Was there anything important I missed that I need to know? Also, get the names and contact information for some former clients you can use as references.
Soon after the meeting, make notes about it and any impressions you had about the lawyer you met. What did you like or dislike about the lawyer? Did he or she say anything that sticks out in your mind?
Hiring a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Attorney
After meeting with all the Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyers on your list, it's time to decide which one to hire. Consider them as a group. Which one stood out the most in terms of experience and strategy? In which one would you feel most comfortable? Who spurred the most confidence in you?
If there is a shining star among the group, then your decision is easy. However, if several vying for the job share many of the same attributes, call the former clients and get some real-world feedback. This should help you home in on the best attorney for you.
Now that you've found the best Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer for your case, you are ready to begin seeking compensation for your healthcare provider-inflicted injury.
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