10 Key Questions to Ask a Malpractice Attorney
Each year, more than 250,000 people in the United States die as a result of medical errors. That means that after heart disease and cancer, medical errors cause the largest number of deaths in the country.
So what do you do once you discover that you or a member of your family has been the victim of an avoidable medical error? One of the best solutions is to hire a medical malpractice attorney right away. Often, getting proper legal representation is the only way to safeguard your rights and get the compensation you deserve after experiencing medical malpractice.
Hiring the right attorney for your case is essential. So how do you go about the process? Well, you could interview several medical malpractice lawyers to get an idea of their qualifications.
In this article, we give you a list of ten key questions to ask your prospective malpractice lawyer. Read on to learn more.
1. Have You Handled Cases Similar to This One?
This is arguably the most critical question to ask. The last thing you want is to trust a novice with your medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney with ample experience dealing with malpractice cases will often save you time and money.
If your attorney says they’ve handled similar cases in the past, ask follow up questions to confirm that what they’re saying is true. For instance, ask when the cases were tried and their results. This helps you know whether the attorney understands the subject matter.
2. Have You Practiced In the Same Courthouse My Case Will Be?
While getting an experienced attorney is a huge step, it is a big plus when that lawyer has previously dealt with the prosecutors and judges who are likely to preside over your case. That courtroom experience is essential for the attorney to evaluate the most probable outcomes in your lawsuit. This way, they can provide you with the appropriate advice.
3. As a Malpractice Attorney, What Results Have You Achieved In Previous Cases?
Besides an attorney’s experience and background, it’s important to find out how they’ve performed in previous cases. How did their most recent case turn out? Have they ever won any significant awards for their clients?
Generally, you want to work with an attorney with a proven track record of winning in the courtroom.
4. Have You Previously Been Sanctioned For Attorney Misconduct?
As a client, it’s within your rights to know whether your prospective medical malpractice attorney has ever faced accusations of professional misconduct. Such information may be available on the site of the licensing authority of your state. However, you can still ask your potential lawyer.
If the attorney has faced in the past such accusations, ask them to explain the circumstances that led to the allegations. What were the outcomes of the allegations?
5. Is There Any Conflict Of Interest?
In all states, malpractice lawyers have an obligation to reveal any existing conflicts of interest. However, you still need to ask them the question.
Does the lawyer regularly represent the hospital you are about to sue? Are they familiar with such details as the hospital’s audits and so on? If so, then there’s likely a conflict of interest.
If your potential attorney has already accepted to be a co-defendant in the same lawsuit, there’s also conflict.
6. Do You Have Enough Resources to Successfully Prosecute This Case?
Many medical malpractice cases require significant resources to win. You need to know whether the attorney you’re considering has access to all the necessary resources to give you the best chance.
Besides the lawyer, how many people will actively be involved in your case? Does the attorney’s firm have access to expert witnesses and medical investigators? If the lawyer can’t guarantee these things, you may want to look elsewhere.
7. How Do You Manage Cases?
As you’re going to find out, medical malpractice lawsuits can be lengthy. Before yours gets settled, it may take a significant amount of time. That said, it is still important that you know what to expect throughout the trial.
Ask your attorney whether they plan to handle your case themselves or intend to refer the suit to another law agency. This is also the time to find out whether you can expect to interact with other staff, paralegals, or lawyers from the same firm.
8. What Are the Legal Fees?
Understandably, you want the best legal representation for your case. But you also want to be sure that you can afford the cost of that representation. That’s why it’s important to ask from the outset what your prospective lawyer will charge.
Enquire from your attorney how they’ll charge you for their service. In case your lawsuit is successful, how will you share the compensation? Most medical malpractice attorneys in the country charge a 40 to 45 percent contingent fee.
9. Is It Advisable To Talk To the Insurance Company of the Liable Party?
Sometimes, the negligent party’s insurance provider will ask for a recorded statement from you. Before agreeing to anything, you should talk to your attorney. You could also ask your attorney to handle any discussions with the insurance provider on your behalf.
Always let your attorney advise you on how to handle any situation.
10. What Outcomes are Likeliest in This Case?
Your attorney is by no means a fortune teller. That means that no lawyer can ever guarantee what the result of your case will be. That said, any seasoned medical malpractice attorney should have the ability to provide a comprehensive preliminary evaluation of how your lawsuit will most likely play out.
Find the Right Malpractice Attorney for Your Case
After an incident of medical malpractice, finding the ideal attorney for you is an essential step in getting justice done. A medical malpractice attorney can play a significant role in protecting your rights or those of your loved one.
Of course, not all malpractice lawyers are equal. Getting the right means you must ask the appropriate questions, so you get the perfect match for you.
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