When Should I Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
If you suffered an injury, illness, or a worsened condition after receiving medical care, talk to a medical malpractice lawyer. This does not mean you have to hire a lawyer or take legal action. A good personal injury lawyer will evaluate your case for free to determine if a lawsuit makes sense.
You may not be sure if you have a case of negligence or malpractice, but the right lawyer will clarify your situation at no cost. They have the expertise in the law and experience with similar cases to advise you. They can also estimate your chances of winning a lawsuit and damages you may be able to recover.
How Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help Me?
Giving this initial consultation and advice on your case is the first important thing that a medical malpractice lawyer will do for you. If they suggest you have a case and that your doctor was likely negligent, they can help you in several other ways.
- Explain Your Rights and Recommend Next Steps
The laws governing personal injury and medical malpractice are confusing for laypeople. The right lawyer will take the time to explain them to you, offer options that make sense and provide their own recommendations. For example, they may suggest negotiating with a hospital’s insurance company for a settlement before filing a malpractice lawsuit.
- Provide Access to Medical Experts and Investigators
Lawyers specializing in these kinds of cases have networks of experts they rely on for investigations and testimony. Some even have doctors and specialists on staff. These experts are essential in proving negligence in malpractice cases.
- Deal with Insurance Companies
When you allege medical malpractice, it isn’t the doctor you have to go up against; it’s the insurance company. Insurance companies notoriously do what it takes to minimize payouts, and they are good at it. A lawyer can advocate for you and fight for fair compensation.
- Litigate to Recover Damages
Doctors and hospitals rarely admit negligence, even when paying settlements for malpractice. Working with the insurance company for compensation is challenging, often ending in disappointment for the victim. What the right personal injury lawyer can do for you is take the case to court. They can litigate and get a jury award to help you recover damages.
How to Find a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you’re ready to work with a medical malpractice lawyer, you’ll find there are a lot of options. Many personal injury firms advertise that they take on malpractice cases, but they are not all the same. If you have a reliable referral from someone you trust, that’s helpful. If not, you will have to evaluate lawyers and law firms. Look for these attributes of a successful, reputable firm or attorney:
- Proven experience with medical malpractice cases
- References from satisfied past clients
- Information about past wins and damages amounts for previous clients
- Experience in both negotiating settlements and litigating cases in court
- Resources and time available to give your case a chance and to investigate the incident
- A free case evaluation and a contingency payment plan
- Easy accessibility around the clock
Watch out for lawyers who claim they can give you a specific outcome. No lawyer can or should guarantee a win or a certain amount of damages. This is a major red flag. Also, beware of lawyers who charge fees upfront or don’t have time to focus on your case. Some firms take on a lot of clients and then cannot devote enough time to each one.
What to Bring to Your First Meeting
The first meeting with a new lawyer is essential for providing information, getting answers, and getting a feel for the firm. Be prepared to be honest with the attorneys. They need all the information, no matter how uncomfortable it is to talk about, in order to advocate for you:
- All of your medical records and bills up to this point
- Information about your current condition and how it impacts your life
- Information about your job, income information, and any time you have had to miss because of the incident
- Any additional expenses related to the incident, such as travel costs or extra childcare
- Your notes on what happened
- Contact information for the hospital or other medical facility and doctors involved in the situation
What Should I Ask my Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
The lawyer will need to ask you many questions and get information, but you should also ask questions. If a lawyer cannot answer your questions or does not have time, they may not be the right one for you. Some of the crucial questions to consider include:
- What experience do you have in cases like mine?
- Do you have access to medical experts?
- What are some past cases you won, and how much were you able to recover in damages?
- How much time do you have to devote to my case, and who will be handling it?
- Do you think I have a strong case for negligence?
- How much do you think my case is worth?
- If it comes to a trial, do you have litigation experience, and are you willing to take my case to court?
- What are the laws that could impact my case?
- Do we need to file a lawsuit soon, or is it too late?
- Can I still get compensation if I missed the deadline?
- What are your fees, and how do you handle payments?
Being harmed by a doctor is upsetting. To trust a professional with your care and to suffer an injury or extended illness as a result is unacceptable. Medical malpractice lawyers advocate for victims of this kind of negligence, and they can help you get justice and recover damages.