The medical profession is a noble profession as healthcare workers dedicate themselves to preserve lives. But, with great power comes responsibility. Doctors owe a duty to their clients to use their abilities most appropriately and ethically. They must uphold standards of care in the diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare. All patients carry a large amount of confidence and trust in the skills of their doctors. However, sometimes doctors can make mistakes that could cost a human life. When medical negligence causes injury to a patient, the victim can file a medical malpractice suit.
While particular rules may vary on a state-by-state basis, some general principles apply to most medical malpractice cases. Your case must fulfill these requirements to be successful.
- First, you must prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship with the defendant.
- Secondly, you must prove that the doctor was negligent.
- Thirdly, the negligence of the doctor must have caused the injury. Usually, the victims in most malpractice cases were already sick before seeing a doctor. So, the plaintiff has to prove the injury was because of negligence on a balance of probabilities.
- Lastly, the patient has to prove that the injury made them suffer.
Once you are sure that you have a bona fide, you can hire a medical malpractice lawyer. However, do not just settle for anyone. You must hire someone with excellent skills and experience. Here are six things to consider before you hire a lawyer.
- Experience: Hire someone with experience in the field. For example, Simmons, Hanly, and Conroy have decades of experience in the niche of medical malpractice. Experienced professionals do not only help you save costs, but they can also save time. Most malpractice cases end in the trial court, so an experienced lawyer with years of litigation can help you succeed efficiently. Experts have a significant role in malpractice cases. They set the standards of care in healthcare. So, they can assist the court in establishing whether the defendant acted reasonably or negligently. Professional malpractice attorneys also know how to build a strong case and gather evidence to support your claim. They can also guide you about state requirements and any recent developments concerning your situation.
- Specialization: Some lawyers work in specialized fields, while others have a more general approach to practice. It is better to hire someone who works in your required discipline for the best results. Specialized lawyers will know about all the procedures and the relevant law. Medical malpractice is a complex area because a lawyer has to know the medical aspects of the case. A specialized lawyer will help you understand the nature of your claim and tell you how you can improve your case. Several organizations certify competent lawyers in specific fields. You can also refer to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, which features skillful and experienced attorneys working in medical malpractice. So, hire someone with the correct certification to handle your case.
- Communication Skills: Medical malpractice cases usually end in court. Therefore malpractice lawyers have to communicate with the judge and jury to succeed. They must anticipate any questions and communicate in an organized manner. They must know how to ask questions and get to the heart of the matter. Your lawyer should also effectively talk with you and inform you about the recent developments in your case. They will also have to communicate with insurance companies on your behalf. So, look for someone who has the skills to succeed.
- Payment options: Costs will be a significant factor when you choose your attorney. Think about how much you can spend on fees and gather more information by comparing quotes. Some law firms ask for an upfront payment. Others may work on an hourly rate or contingency. Ask lawyers if there are any hidden costs such as shipping fees and travel costs. Malpractice cases are expensive because they may continue for a long time. Malpractice victims might already be struggling with medical expenses for their injury. Therefore, you must choose a payment option that works for you. It is better to choose a law firm that works on contingency. Not only will this payment option reduce your risk, but it will also motivate your lawyer to work harder.
- Size of the firm: Think about the firm size when you decide to hire a lawyer. While smaller firms with a local presence are better fits for local cases, larger firms have better resources. Furthermore, an experienced firm usually works in specialized areas of law. Malpractice cases are very complex, and there is a lot of paperwork. A national-level firm has the workforce to deal with the timelines and respond to correspondence. They also have the resources to get in touch with experts in the field and doctors to treat your condition.
- Someone you trust: Eventually, hiring a lawyer is all about having an ally in your corner. Fighting a case can bring up distressing emotions, but it is doubly taxing when a person has an injury. The correct attorney can provide you the support you need to conclude a malpractice trial. They will also do their best to get you justice. You will have to talk about several challenging topics, so you should be comfortable talking with your attorney. Therefore, it is necessary to hire someone you can trust.
Remember that there is a timeline on personal injury claims. Several people miss their opportunity to get justice because they wait too long before filing a case. So, we recommend that you immediately talk to a lawyer after discovering the malpractice. An expert will guide you about the time you have left and whether you have a bona fide case.