Choosing A Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice is a serious problem in the U.S., resulting in some 440,000 premature deaths, making it the third-leading cause of death in the country. Many others survive, but only after enduring agonizing injuries and awful illnesses, sometimes with devastating, lifelong consequences.
In these situations, there is great pain, trauma and emotional turmoil. Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyers at The Attorney Injury Group understand there are also significant financial losses, including huge medical bills, inability to work and lost earning capacity.
Often, those affected have a lot of questions, and aren’t sure we’re to start. We’re here to help.
Why Your Medical Malpractice Attorney Matters
Choosing a medical malpractice lawyer can be a daunting task. It’s an important one because the legal team you trust will be handling one of the most complicated types of tort cases.
A general practice attorney may be willing to take your case, but this is typically not the way to go. Neither is attempting to represent oneself to hospitals and insurance carriers. Doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals fight these cases vigorously. It’s not only their money, but their reputation on the line. Plaintiffs need to be equally matched in court.
Medical malpractice victims must find a law firm with extensive experience and knowledge in both medicine and medical malpractice law. Your attorney should have a proven track record of success in prior medical malpractice cases, and also have access to sufficient resources to secure the aid of expert medical witnesses necessary to prove the case.
It matters because your future and financial security may be riding on the outcome.
If you believe you or a loved one have been injured as a result of negligent care, it’s imperative to act quickly. Per Mass. Gen. Law ch. 260 § 4, claimants usually have just three years from the date of the incident to recover damages. That may sound like plenty of time, but the amount of research necessary to properly vet a case and identify all potential defendants is extensive. The sooner action can be taken, the better.
Finding an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
While we know our dedicated, knowledgeable lawyers are well-qualified to take on even the most complex medical malpractice lawsuits, it’s important potential clients take time to research their options.
You can start by:
- Asking for referrals from the Massachusetts Bar Association.
- Review the websites of those attorneys to learn more about the law firm.
- Take note on how quickly the attorney answers your call and how thoroughly he or she answers your questions.
- Ask about a range of settlements or negotiated verdicts he or she has obtained in similar cases.
- Ask whether the attorney handling your case has ever taken a similar case to trial, and inquire about the outcome.
- Ask whether the firm has someone on staff qualified to read and understand complex medical records.
- Ask whether you will receive regular updates on the case, and who your point-of-contact person will be.
- Ask about the fee structure, and whether they offer services on a contingency-fee basis.
Avoid Lawyers Who Make Lofty Promises
The fact of the matter is, no attorney can guarantee you a “win” at trial or multi-million-dollar settlement. There are simply too many unknowns. Claimants should be wary of any lawyer who makes that kind of promise at the outset.
An experienced lawyer can however offer careful assessment of the facts, outline the most likely to be effective legal strategy, and several reasonably possible outcomes.
Fees/ Ability to Fund a Case
There are many excellent lawyers who are employed by smaller law firms. However, claimants should be mindful that cost of some medical malpractice cases may exceed $200,000 or more – and that’s before trial.
The good news is that many law firms – including The Attorney Injury Group – offer their services on medical malpractice claims on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay anything unless you win. However, keep in mind that smaller firms may not be as capable of funding your case upfront.
Before signing any formal agreement, make certain the agreed-upon fee structure is in writing. Read it carefully. Ask the attorney to explain anything you don’t understand. There shouldn’t be any surprises.