4 Tips for Choosing a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Did you know that medical negligence is the third-highest cause of deaths across the United States? As a result, doctors face 15,000 to 20,000 medical malpractice suits each year.
Going to the doctor to seek medical attention is you placing your trust in them. If a medical professional does not offer the right care as required, they breach that trust and put you in danger.
For those who suffer harm due to a medical professional’s ineptitude, seeking legal redress helps them find justice. Here are some tips to help you hire the right medical malpractice lawyer to handle your case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is when a patient gets harmed by a doctor or other medical professional when they don’t perform their medical duties competently.
Doctors and other medical patients are not responsible for all the harm that a patient might experience. However, the professional does become accountable if a patient suffers damage or injury because the medical professional deviated from the expected quality of care.
How Do You Tell It’s Medical Malpractice?
According to medical malpractice attorneys in the country, several factors must be present for a case to fall under this category.
1. There Was a Doctor-Patient Relationship
For you to bring a valid malpractice suit, you must show that you had a medical relationship with the professional in question. No duty of care can exist where there is no professional relationship.
You will need to show that you hired the professional for their service and that they agreed to be hired.
2. There Was Negligence on the Medical Professional’s Part
Every medical professional is expected to uphold a standard of care. That is, they should offer reasonable care that a similarly qualified professional can provide under the same circumstances.
Your malpractice suit has to prove that the medical professional did not uphold this standard of care.
To do so, you will most likely need to present a medical expert that can testify about the lack of a standard of care. In fact, many states will require that you present such a medical expert.
However, in some instances, the negligence can be so egregious that an expert is not necessary.
The medical professional you plan to sue has to be negligent in connection with your diagnosis or treatment.
3. The Medical Professional’s Negligence Caused the Injury
Many times medical professionals will often see patients with pre-existing conditions. As a result, medical malpractice cases always have to figure out whether it is the negligence of the professional in question that directly led to the injury.
You, as the patient, will need to show that it is ‘more likely than not’ that the doctor’s incompetence is what led to your injury. As a result, you will need to produce a qualified medical expert to testify that the damage is directly connected to the professional’s negligence.
4. The Injury Led to Particular Damages
If a medical professional acts below their expected standard of care, but no harm results, you can’t sue for malpractice. Thus, you must show that the harm resulted in specific damage.
Some of the harm your malpractice suit can claim includes suffering, additional medical bills, enduring hardship, lost work and/or earning capacity, mental anguish, and disability.
How to Choose the Right Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When you’re thinking of bringing a malpractice suit against a medical professional, one of the most critical tips is that you must hire an exceptional attorney. Here are some things to help you pick the right legal representation for your case.
1. Assess Their Medical Malpractice Experience
A reliable attorney needs to have prior medical malpractice experience, and preferably in the same particular area as your case.
It is, therefore, imperative that you interview every attorney on your shortlist to determine who has the most valuable experience to help shepherd your case. You can conduct such interviews in-person or as pre-interviews over the phone.
You can ask the lawyer how much of their caseload is dedicated to medical practice. The higher the percentage, the better, as it signals their level of expertise and exposure to such cases.
2. Can They Deliver a Medical Expert?
Since there is a high probability that your malpractice suit will require a medical expert to testify on your behalf, you have to find out if the attorney can get one.
Ask the lawyer to detail who they can call to give expert witness in your case.
Typically, you want to engage a medical expert with the skills to break down complex concepts into simple terms non-medical people can understand. You will also want to hire a medical expert who not only knows how to communicate but can be persuasive too.
3. Find out If They Will Require You to Seek Settlement
In many cases, medical malpractice suits end up settling out of court. The advantage of doing so is that you (and your attorney) get paid relatively fast as compared to undergoing a full-on trial.
Due to this, some lawyers make it a habit to seek to settle even when it is not sufficient.
Therefore, before hiring a malpractice attorney, you need to ask them if they will expect you to settle no matter what. A lawyer who is after your best interest will, after their best attempts to settle fairly, opt for a trial if the offer is sub-standard.
4. Look at Their Fee Structure
When it comes down to it, no matter how exceptional an attorney is, if you can’t afford their fees, they won’t be of much help to you.
Therefore, before you sign the contract, ask the attorney how they plan to bill you and how much they will charge you for their services.
Many malpractice attorneys charge on a contingency basis, i.e., they take a case upfront and carve out a percentage of their earnings from the amount you win. The market range for contingency fees lies between 20% and 50%.
Get the Justice You Deserve
A medical professional who treats you in a sub-standard manner puts your life at risk. If you end up suffering harm due to such negligence, you need to hire the best medical malpractice lawyer to help you win. Learn to identify the markers of a valid malpractice case to ensure you get the justice you deserve.
If you have suffered harm due to medical negligence, The Law Office of E. Marvin Romero can come alongside you to help seek justice. Talk to us today for legal representation that sees your fight is our fight.