If you believe a doctor or other health care provider’s negligence resulted in injury, you may have a medical malpractice case; choosing just any attorney who practices personal injury law will not suffice as these cases can be particularly complex. You need someone with the knowledge and experience in medical malpractice specifically. Here are some tips for selecting the attorney who can best represent your needs.
Meet with Multiple Lawyers
Certain types of lawyers are certainly more prone to more aggressive advertising and those who deal with personal injury probably top out the list. You have probably seen all sorts of ads for personal injury attorneys in your area that claim they can represent you in a medical malpractice case. It can be all too easy to seek out the one you have been exposed to most, but this is not the best tack to take when selecting an attorney. Lots of advertising does not really speak to competence. Use referral services with caution as the criteria to get listed may be as basic as paying a fee to get in the directory; others may have more stringent criteria. No matter what approach you take to selecting a medical malpractice attorney, it is good to meet with a few lawyers before deciding on representation.
Experience in Your Type of Case
The types of issues that fall under medical malpractice are vast, from misdiagnosing an illness to botched surgery. Each type of case requires specialized knowledge. Ideally, you want to find an attorney who has dealt with your issue specifically. Medical malpractice cases can be highly complex and a high degree of medical knowledge is required—the more an attorney knows about your specific injury, the better he will be able to represent you. In the most ideal of circumstances, see if you can find a lawyer who also has a medical license—they are out there. No matter who you meet with, pay attention to see if she can speak intelligently about your injury and what should have been done to address it.
Importance of Trial Experience
Many personal injury cases end up getting settled out of court, even ones that were slated to go to trial. Medical malpractices cases, however, are more likely to go to trial. Doctors have a lot to lose if they are found guilty of malpractice and they are likely to want to fight the case in court if there is a chance of being found not guilty. Insurance companies have plenty of money to defend themselves and the burden of proof will fall on your attorney to prove negligence.
Financial Health of the Practice
Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if you do—for the most part, they will be taking care of the expenses associated with your case. Medical malpractice cases can be very expensive. Your lawyer will need to pay medical experts to review your medical records, it takes longer to depose medical professionals, expert witnesses are costly. Your case will also likely require costly diagrams and exhibits.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about a variety of legal topics; she recommends you see here for more information about medical malpractice attorneys in Chicago.