Medical malpractices cases are complex, so it’s crucial to have the right team on your side if you’ve been harmed by malpractice. Medical cases require specialized lawyers who not only possess strong legal skills but who have a good understanding of medical issues. But with the right legal support, you can seek justice where it is due when medical malpractice is suspected. Here’s where to start.
Make a list
If you know any lawyers – or if you know anyone else who knows some lawyers – then a great first step is to ask for recommendations from those lawyers. While most attorneys don’t focus on malpractice, they likely know of practitioners in the field.
A search on a directory website like Lawyers.com or Avvo.com for medical malpractice attorneys in your metro area can be useful, but you should cross reference these with personal recommendations from your network.
Start with a robust list, since experienced malpractice lawyers turn down many of the cases they review.
Check it twice
Publicly available information, or lack of it, can tell you a lot about a law firm. Does their website discuss specialization in medical malpractice? Is there material on their site for prospective malpractice clients?
Are the attorneys active in any associations, like the American Association for Justice, or a state trial lawyers association?
Online reviews of lawyers are worth reviewing, but sometimes individuals whose cases were declined may leave unfavorable reviews of the attorneys online. That’s part of the reason it’s important to cross check.
Figure out who’s naughty or nice
Once you’ve narrowed your list of malpractice attorneys to a few good candidates, contact their offices to strike up a dialogue. These initial consultations don’t cost money, and they may help you quickly decide whether you have a malpractice case worth pursuing, and which firm is best prepared to help you begin the journey.
Ask each firm you interview what percentage of their caseload is dedicated to malpractice. Ask how often their cases go to trial, and google the attorney’s names along with terms like “trial” and “settlement” and “verdict.” Insurance companies often are familiar with the firms with a reputation for settling, and the firms with a reputation for going to trial, and the insurance companies negotiate accordingly.
Learn everything you can about the fee agreement and payment of costs related to the case. If you have a strong malpractice case, most malpractice attorneys will work on a contingency fee, where the lawyers receive fees based on a percentage of any money collected through settlement or verdict. But you must know at the beginning who will absorb the upfront expenses including expert witness fees, document preparation and filing fees. It’s also important to educate yourself on what are called “law suit loans” which may offer to front funds before a court decision.
Lastly, take a face to face meeting with the attorneys on your short list. Medical malpractice attorneys who are in high demand may not be available to meet on short notice, but if the firm is a right fit they will find the time to meet with you in reasonably short order.
If you think you or a loved one is a victim of malpractice, contact our office today.