How to Choose a Malpractice Lawyer
When you suffer an illness or injury, the last thing you want to do is not be able to trust your doctors and other medical staff. Unfortunately, a medical mistake can happen — one of which may lead you to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you sue the parties that were responsible for your physical or emotional turmoil, pain, and suffering as a result of the care or lack of care you received. The medical negligence may involve the physician, surgeon, nurse, or other medical establishment staff.
Types of Medical Malpractice Claims
There are a number of situations that may be ultimately identified as medical malpractice including:
- Anesthesia errors
- Childbirth injuries
- Emergency room malpractice
- Abuse in nursing homes
- Premature hospital discharge
- Chiropractic malpractice
- Misreading or losing laboratory results
- Pharmaceutical and medication errors
- Cosmetic surgery mistakes
- Anesthesia errors
- Wrongful death
- Follow-up care negligence
- Surgical errors.
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
Of course, this is a just a small glimpse of the types of medical negligence situations that can constitute a medical malpractice claim. Feel free to learn more by checking out Top 10 Medical Mistakes which goes through a list of common issues. Regardless of the specific type of physician mistake or medical error, though, it is imperative that you have an experienced malpractice attorney in your corner.
“While it may seem like a tall order to fill, here are the major features to look for when selecting a medical malpractice attorney and firm.”
Specialized Malpractice Law Experience
Competent malpractice lawyers not only have a formal legal education, but they also have specialized experience with medical malpractice law and cases.
They must unequivocally know how to handle a variety of medical malpractice cases, from childbirth injuries and misdiagnosis, to injuries in other types of speciality medical practices, like a cosmetic surgery practice or chiropractic office.
While it is vital to look at their experience as a lawyer and how many general cases they have handled, it is also essential to review the number of medical malpractice cases they have handled and won.
“It’s also a good idea to go one step further and ask about the types of malpractice claims they represented in order to find a lawyer who has experience with a claim similar or identical to yours.”
Prestigious Awards, Recognition and Memberships
To delve even further into the lawyer’s experience and track record, take note of the awards and recognitions they have won, as well as what organizations they belong to.
For instance, has the attorney been rated by other attorneys through peer reviews Martindale-Hubbell or Super Lawyers? These recognitions demonstrate an exceptionally high level of dedication, loyalty and integrity. They are great honors due to their stringent rating system for such lawyers.
Membership in organizations such as American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), for example, are reserved for lawyers who display integrity, civility, honor, and skill. Members of ABOTA must have attained a minimum number of years of active jury trials and be both nominated and elected to the board.
In addition, check to see if the attorney has been appointed by the court of appeals judge to participate on a state bar ethics panel.
Not all lawyers, even malpractice lawyers, are experienced, ready, and willing to go to trial. Many lawyers prefer settling out of court. While a settlement is an easier process and makes the claim go faster, it could mean losing quite a bit in damages.
If you feel you deserve the maximum amount of damages, look for a malpractice lawyer that is more than willing to head to trial and get you what you deserve. This is called a trial lawyer, and many trial lawyers are also specialized malpractice lawyers.
The trial lawyer should already have litigation experience, having had other lawsuits that ended up in trial and were won. If the lawyer has a reputation for going through settlements, and you are looking for more than that, move on and find someone more suited to your case.
Comprehensive Medical Knowledge
Having medical knowledge is imperative in a malpractice lawyer. Not only do they have expert legal knowledge and are ready to go to court if need be, but they are knowledgeable about the details and situations surrounding medical malpractice issues. They understand medical lingo, treatments, how medical offices and hospitals function, and the types of injuries or illnesses that occur due to medical negligence.
A malpractice lawyer understands, for example, how triage works, why mistakes are made in administrative offices, and how to tell the difference between negligence and an unavoidable consequence of surgery or treatments.
Another reason this is important is when the case goes to trial. The lawyer you choose must be able to get past the technical medical jargon that the defense uses.
Compassionate, Caring, and Trust
Your comfort level with the medical malpractice lawyer you choose is paramount. It makes it easier for you to communicate freely, particularly during such a stressful time as a medical malpractice claim .
Moreover, since you will be relying on your attorney’s judgement, guidance, and advice, it’s important that you consider him to be trustworthy.
Having compassion and kindness when you or your loved one is experiencing pain or suffering, whether physical or emotional, as a result of medical negligence is something not easily found on paper. It means having someone in your corner who is your partner in seeking the justices and damages your deserve.
Further, the more you trust your lawyer, the more open you will be about what happened to result in your injury, illness, or medical condition, which, all told, helps to make your case more successful. Your first gut instinct about a lawyer is usually a good one, so trust it.
Not all medical malpractice lawyers are created equal, making it imperative that you take the time necessary when deciding on an attorney to represent your case.