Medical Malpractice: How To Find The Best Attorney To Take On Your Case
Medical Malpractice Defined
When you go to the doctor, you’re putting yourself in the hands of a person you hope has your best interest at heart. After all, this person allegedly went to eight or more years of schooling to learn as much information about the human body and the things that can go wrong with it.
Sometimes, just sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where the doctor doesn’t know what they’re talking about or something happened that wasn’t best for you. Or, the equipment they used during surgery wasn’t working as they should have and resulted in major injuries or death.
What Is Deemed Medical Malpractice?
This is known as medical malpractice, and is actually the third leading cause of death in the nation (U.S.), with about 225,000 people dying or being seriously injured because of medical negligence. What does the law consider to be medical malpractice?
- Standard of Care Was Violated – The law realizes that the profession recognizes certain medical standards as being reasonable medical treatment by trained, certified medical professionals. It’s called a standard of care, and if this standard of care was not met, then it’s possible that negligence can be established.
- Injury Due To Negligence – For a valid medical malpractice claim to be heard, the patient needs to prove that the injury was the result of negligence – by the doctor, the facility, the equipment or whatever. If an injury occurred without evidence of negligence, you don’t have a case.
- Injury Caused Major Damages – These types of lawsuits can get costly to litigate, usually requiring the assistance of other medical professionals and experts with hours of testimony. If a case is to be considered valid, a plethora of damages is to have resulted from that medically-negligent injury. While you can pursue even minor cases of medical malpractice, it’s important to remember that the cost to pursue it may be more than what you’d get back.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers – Do You Have A Case?
For an attorney to take on a medical malpractice case, the patient needs to show the following things that the injury caused:
- Loss of income
- Suffering and hardship
- Unusual pain
- Past and ongoing medical bills
Examples Of Medical Malpractice?
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Failure of recognizing symptoms
- Not ordering tests
- Ignoring or misreading lab results
- Improper prescription dosage
- Unnecessary surgery
- Wrong site surgery or surgical mistakes
- Premature discharge
- Lack of follow-up care
2 Types of Damages Awarded In A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If a case goes in your favor or you receive a settlement, there are two kinds of damages you could be awarded:
- Compensatory – This includes lost-earning capacity, medical expenses and life care expenses. The court will take into consideration past and future losses when determining the amount. These damages look at the physical and psychological harm done due to the medical mistake.
- Punitive – This is awarded when a defendant was found guilty of willful or malicious conduct. It’s a type of punishment and is compensation for the injuries received and is added to the actual damages.
Have you or someone you loved been a victim of medical malpractice? If so, then you need the help of a medical malpractice attorney to get you the compensation you or your loved one deserves. You already scared or stressed out enough with more questions than answers; the right medical malpractice attorney can ease your anxiety and help you through the tough times.
What constitutes as the right attorney for your medical malpractice claim?
4 Things To Look For In A Medical Malpractice Attorney
The first and most important thing is to find an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice cases. Let’s face it; these cases tend to be the most complex of all claims. If your baby was born with a birth injury or someone you loved had a brain injury as of a result of doctor’s negligence, there could have been so many things that went wrong to cause these problems.
When talking to an attorney, you want one that has handled cases similar to yours. You need to ask questions (listed down below) to get an understanding of how well they understand the medical malpractice process. Since this can get complicated, you don’t want someone who is just starting out in the field. Your attention should be placed on people who have had years of experience.
Again, this boils down to experience. For you to get the most money from your medical malpractice suit, you want an attorney who strikes fear into the heart of the hospital or doctor’s insurance or attorneys. Be sure to learn what the attorney’s track record is in and out of court. Have they gone to trial to win their cases? It’s not uncommon for some attorneys to lack trial experience and settle the case for less than what it’s really worth.
All medical malpractices claims need testimony from medical experts, and if your attorney doesn’t have any medical experts on hand to assist you, then you could very well lose your case and the chance for compensation. Defense attorneys will use their own medical experts to raise reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind. Find an attorney that has a list of medical experts they can call to help them out when necessary.
Funding – When it comes to personal injury cases, medical malpractice lawsuits are the most expensive – usually due to the need of hiring medical experts to testify. It’s not uncommon for these cases to reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars before actually going to trial. Make sure you find an attorney who can advance the money or how much you need to pay each month to take on your medical malpractice case.
Questions To Ask Any Prospective Attorney
When you go to “interview” an attorney, you should have a list of questions to ask them. The answers they provide you will give you an idea of how well they know their material, their background and more. What are some questions to ask the attorneys?
- Do they specialize in medical malpractice?
- How long have they been working as a medical malpractice attorney?
- How many medical malpractices cases have they tried?
- How many trials involving medical malpractice have they had and won?
- Who will be handling your case?
- What are the largest verdicts for them to date?
- How long before they make settlement demands?
- What chances does your case have in winning?
- How strong or weak is your case?
- Are there chances for the case to settle?
- Will they file a medical malpractice lawsuit if a reasonable settlement cannot be attained?
- What are their fees? Will you need to pay upfront or in payments? Do they work on a contingency fee?
How To Find Medical Malpractice Lawyers To “Interview”
Personal Recommendations – When it comes to finding attorneys to “interview,” be sure to talk to family, friends or co-workers. Word-of-mouth recommendations are often best because people know first-hand how an attorney works.
Internet Research – If you can’t find any this route, you can always use the Internet to help you out. There are many sites dedicated to helping people find the kind of attorney they need. Be sure to read reviews of the attorneys you are thinking of talking to. People tend to share their experience (good and bad) with the world, and this information can be quite helpful in finding yourself a medical malpractice attorney.
Legal Websites – Again, the Internet is going to be your best friend here, but be sure to check out legal websites (not just do a Google search.) Legal websites can find you attorneys in your area and provide you with some basic information.
Local County and/or State Bar – Another place to turn to is the Local County or State Bar. They can point you in the directions of attorneys who handle your type of case. Again, you’ll need to interview lawyers before hiring one to represent you.
Most lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss your case – not in its entirety but to get a feel of whether or not you have a case. As they listen to you, they are sizing up the situation. Don’t run your mouth the entire time, talking about what happened to you.
Instead, use that time to interview them, asking them questions and get a feel for who they are in particular. By listening to them talk, you find out what kind of personality they have and if they can provide you with the kind of results you’re looking for. This time will also help you to know if this is the right attorney for you personally. Although an attorney seems good on paper, how you feel about them personally also says a lot. Listen to your inner voice and make your decision based on the facts and your feelings.