The relationship with a doctor is one of the most important and trusting relationships people have. That is why when your doctor breaks this trust, the repercussions can be catastrophic, resulting in devastating injuries, extreme pain, and a life that will never look the same. However, if a medical professional has harmed you, you do not have to handle this horrifying ordeal alone. You need legal help that can assist you as you fight for the justice and damages you deserve. For these reasons, in this blog post, we will discuss how you can find this legal help, and make sure they are the best medical malpractice attorney for your case.
What Exactly is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a legal course of action that occurs when a doctor, medical care professional, or hospital causes an injury to a patient because of their negligent acts or omissions. This negligence is often the result of an error in the patient’s treatment, aftercare, diagnoses, and even their health management. However, before a case can be considered medical malpractice, it needs to meet the following elements:
The first thing that must be established in a medical malpractice suit is a doctor-patient relationship, which is formed when the doctor consents to treat a patient’s medical needs and the patient agrees to be treated.
Breach in the Standard of Care
In the medical profession, some standards are recognized as being acceptable medical treatments by a reasonably prudent medical care professional under the same or similar circumstances. If these standards are not met, and a doctor or medical care professional provides patient care that is not consistent with these standards, then negligence can be established.
An Injury Occurred
It is not enough to show that a medical care worker violated the standard of care for a medical malpractice claim to be valid. Rather, the patient also needs to show that they sustained an injury that would not have occurred but for the negligence. This means that if the patient suffered an unfavorable outcome, that is not by itself enough to prove malpractice. They need to show that the medical professional’s negligence caused their injury.
There are Significant Damages
Unfortunately, it is expensive to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. As a result, if a patient suffered damages because of this malpractice, these damages need to be substantial. Otherwise, the cost of pursuing the case may be greater than the possible recovery. For these reasons, to pursue this type of claim, the patient needs to show that the injury they sustained resulted in lost wages, excruciating pain, significant suffering and hardship, a disability, or extensive current and future medical expenses.
What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice Claims?
Medical malpractice can take on many forms. However, some of the more common examples of this malpractice include a medical professional:
- Failing to diagnose a condition
- Misdiagnosing a condition
- Performing unnecessary surgeries or treatments
- Ignoring or misreading lab results
- Performing surgery on the wrong site or other surgical errors
- Providing improper medication or dosage
- Prematurely discharging the patient
- Not providing proper follow-up care
- Disregarding the patient’s history
- Failing to order appropriate testing
- Failing to recognize a patient’s symptoms
Where Should You Start When Looking For the Best Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Medical malpractice is a unique and specialized area of law that requires a lawyer with significant experience. Not only because various procedural roadblocks get in the way of filing a medical malpractice claim, but once you file the case, the attorney has to be ready to face a legal team that has substantial industry knowledge and resources. Because of these extensive challenges, find a lawyer that understands the state’s relevant malpractice laws and has the skills, knowledge, and experience to build the strongest legal argument on your behalf. That is why before you hire just any malpractice attorney to take on your case, you need to consider the following factors as you are performing your search.
Look for the Correct Lawyer
Typically, medical malpractice lawyers fall into two categories: attorneys who represent those harmed by medical malpractice and attorneys who defend insurance companies or doctors. For these reasons, if you suffered harm because of medical malpractice, you need to find a lawyer who represents the victim. To do this, you need to do your research and find medical malpractice lawyers in your area, check out their websites, and even call some firms to find out more about them.
Check out Their Experience
As you are researching these attorneys, you should look for law firms that concentrate on medical malpractice, so you can find a lawyer that understands the relevant malpractice laws and has familiarity with standard medical practices and procedures. To verify this experience, check out the firm’s website for blog posts or articles they wrote related to medical malpractice, or look at the attorney’s biographical information to verify the attorney’s individual experience. In addition, you can ask these lawyers specific questions to determine if they have the level of expertise required to take on your case, such as:
- How many medical malpractice claims have you worked on?
- What types of medical malpractice claims have you taken on?
- How extensive is your knowledge of the medical field?
- Have you won any medical malpractice claims? How many?
- Do you have any experience taking medical malpractice cases to trial?
- What is your most recent medical malpractice settlement?
Finding an attorney that can answer these questions can provide you with a significant amount of insight into whether they can offer you the effective legal representation you require, and whether they can handle your specific claim to obtain the best result possible.
Look at the Lawyer’s Reputation
Even if the medical malpractice attorney can answer your questions, it is still important to check the lawyer’s reputation in the legal community. You can do this by verifying whether the lawyer is a member of trial attorney associations, such as The National Trial Lawyers or the state trial lawyers’ association in the specific state where you reside. In addition, you can check the American Bar Association for local bar associations in your area and verify whether the lawyer has received any awards, holds any leadership positions, or if they have ever been disciplined.
Read the Reviews
It is also important to check out the attorney’s reviews and read previous testimonials from prior clients. This is because one of the best ways to determine if a law firm or attorney is the right fit for your needs is to check out the previous opinions from former clients. Generally, if a client is satisfied enough with their legal representation to write a review on a lawyer, this is often a good sign that the attorney may be a good fit.
Investigate their History of Success
Another way to determine if a lawyer is a top medical malpractice attorney near you is to determine if they have a proven track record of success. Typically, law firms will have a section of their website dedicated to previous cases results. Researching these past results can help you figure out:
- What type of cases the attorney has experience in
- When was their last successful case
- How much money did they win on their client’s behalf
Although an attorney may seem like they have the right reputation to take on your suit, without the right skills, resources, and experience, they may not be able to go after the compensation you deserve. Fortunately, their past success can help you determine if they are prepared to take on your specific legal claim.
How to Perform Your Search to Find a Good Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Once you understand the specific characteristics you need in a medical malpractice attorney, you now need to know where to look for these lawyers. Although finding an attorney may not be that difficult, since Google can provide you with a list of lawyers in your area within seconds, it is about more than just finding any lawyer. That is why you should also consider casting a wider net and using other resources to find these top medical malpractice attorneys, such as:
- Contacting the bar association in your city, county, or state. These associations often have referral tools to assist you in finding a lawyer in a certain specialty.
- Talking to your network of family and friends. However, always make sure you evaluate the attorney yourself and not just take another person’s word for it.
- Ask lawyers in other specialties since successful lawyers often know other good attorneys even if they do not practice in the same thing.
Ultimately, a few law firms and schedule meetings with them. Make sure you start your search as soon as possible since time is short when it comes to a medical injury lawsuit, and you want to make sure your lawyer has enough time to investigate your medical malpractice claim.
Reach out to the Law Firm
Once you narrowed down your search, you should reach out to these law firms to find out more details about their practice, such as:
- What percentage of the firm’s cases are devoted only to medical malpractice? The higher this percentage, the better.
- What percentage of your medical malpractice cases go to trial instead of settling? Typically, if an attorney is known only to settle cases, it could affect your settlement amount.
- What type of fee agreement does the law firm have, and how are the case costs paid? Most medical malpractice law firms work on a contingency fee basis, which means that the lawyer will be paid a percentage of any sum received through a judgment or settlement. However, you will also want to know if the firm covers legal fees, including document prep, court filing fees, and expert witnesses, and at what point they will need to be reimbursed.
- What is the attorney’s policy on providing work to their paralegals, assistants, and other lawyers? You will want to figure out who will handle your case.
You may also want to contact a face-to-face meeting with the lawyer. This way, you can see first-hand whether the attorney can make time for you and whether you will be able to get along with them as they work on your case.
Why Do You Need to Retain The Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
As mentioned previously, medical malpractice cases are complex and often require detailed evidence and sound legal arguments to prove what happened and who was at fault for your injuries. That is why it is in your best interest to have an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on your side, taking on these complicated claims and fighting for the financial recovery you deserve. Once you retain a top medical malpractice lawyer near you, these attorneys can:
- Determine if you have a viable medical malpractice claim and figure out what legal options you should pursue.
- Answer all the questions you have regarding your medical malpractice incident and the legal process involved.
- Investigate the incident thoroughly and secure the evidence required to show fault and damages.
- Retain experts to testify on the medical malpractice issues in your case and substantiate your claim.
- Ensure that your legal motions are filed before the statute of limitations expires.
- Handle all the negotiations and discussions with the other side, including the insurance company, and pursue a just settlement.
- Proceed to trial if the other side is unwilling to negotiate fairly and fight relentlessly for the maximum compensation you need.
If you or a loved one was injured because of a medical professional’s wrongful or negligent actions, do not wait any longer to seek the legal help you need. Instead, contact a skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated medical malpractice attorney today to fight for your rights and the justice you deserve.