6 Characteristics of the Best Law Firms for Medical Malpractice Cases
Trying to find the best law firm to handle your medical malpractice case can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Many medical malpractice lawyers are advertising on every possible outlet but separating the ones who care from the ones who will treat your case like just another number is challenging. The best law firms for medical malpractice cases often take some time and research to provide the most quality representation possible.
Determine if you’re a victim of medical malpractice
Your interviews with attorneys can help to determine if your case has enough evidence to proceed, but first, you need to assess whether you or a loved one have been a victim of malpractice.
In general, there are three criteria that need to be met for your case to be defined as medical malpractice. First, the healthcare provider has violated the standard of care set out for patients by the law.
Second, the personal injury or death was caused by negligence or preventable error. It’s not enough that a procedure did not go well, or that there were complications; the injury or death must be a direct result of negligent actions or decisions on behalf of the healthcare provider.
Finally, the damages must be significant. These include substantial medical bills, potential future care, and pain and suffering. The amount must be worth litigating under malpractice law.
1. Has referrals
It may sound simplistic but start researching the law firms that are referred to you. Like many businesses and services, sometimes one of the best characteristics of a medical malpractice lawyer comes from someone who has used the law firm before. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals. People who have successfully had their cases litigated or settled by these law firms are your best sources of information about the lawyers and their practices.
Another kind of referral can come from other lawyers. If you know a lawyer, or already use a lawyer for business or personal matters, your lawyer may be able to suggest the best law firm to handle your malpractice case. Sometimes, they know more inside information, including reputations, quality of experts, and integrity.
2. Has plenty of information on their website
Nowadays, most law firms maintain an online presence with information about the kinds of cases they litigate, and the number of lawyers on staff who are experts in each field. You should be able to easily navigate to information about that law firm’s medical malpractice section, which may give a light overview of the process of litigating medical malpractice cases. Many of your questions may be answered before you even pick up the phone to contact them.
3. Has medical knowledge
Not only must your attorney be adept at navigating through the legal system and utilizing the laws of your state, but they must also be knowledgeable about the medical field. In order to understand the ins and outs of your case, including reading through medical records and bills, they must be able to understand what went wrong, and why.
Most lawyers specializing in medical malpractice will have plenty of knowledge in this area. In some states, such as in Michigan, lawyers are also required to have the case evaluated by a doctor or team of doctors first to establish that malpractice occurred. It is helpful if these doctors are utilized for questions and expertise throughout the case, and if they are kept on retainer for trial.
4. Is open and honest about your case during the interview
It’s a good idea to narrow your list to 5 or 6 potential law firms and to interview with them, either in person or over the phone. Prepare a list of questions beforehand to ask them, along with a narrative of relevant and important details about your case.
5. Has a good strategy, especially at trial
The best law firms for medical malpractice cases have attorneys who are driven, energetic, and motivated to win your case. You don’t want someone who is going to drop the ball on keeping you informed, or who lacks energy when it comes to bringing your case forward to the court.
You also want your attorneys to be sympathetic to your needs and concerns, especially if you are having difficulty with your health and mobility because of the malpractice errors. Likely, you will need to go into the law office often to meet and discuss paperwork, sign forms, and look over medical records. If you can choose a lawyer close to your home or work, that is great. If mobility is a problem, many attorneys are willing to utilize technology such as video conferencing for meetings. Others will have paralegals or associate lawyers drop off paperwork to you to sign if getting to the office is too painful.
If you have lost a loved one because of medical malpractice, it’s important to choose an attorney who will channel your emotions into energy to win your case. Righteous indignation is not a bad emotion for your attorney to display when talking about the death of your loved one to members of the court or the hospital’s legal team. Your attorney should empathize with your situation, and advocate for you and your loved one.
6. Is someone you can rely on and trust
You should never be afraid to ask your lawyer a question or email them with a thought or idea. They should also take the pressure off you for the duration of the case. They should be the ones to handle inquiries from the hospital’s legal team or insurance company. They should be your resource for information, and they should be open to hearing from you, too. If you second-guess reaching out to your attorney, it’s going to complicate your communication, which can cause you to lose your case.
Your attorney should also be someone who you can trust. You can ask them to explain their reasoning for certain decisions and suggestions, but ultimately, you need to be able to trust their advice. They know the legal system and the ins and outs of medical malpractice cases better than you do. If you find yourself unable to trust them, ask about the process for exiting your contract.
Medical malpractice cases are complicated and complex legal battles. You need someone with expertise and empathy, along with energy and ethics. Take your time researching and interviewing medical attorneys before choosing a law firm, but also beware there may be a time limit on filing your claim. If you are a victim of medical malpractice, don’t delay in starting your search for justice today.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. our legal team will fight for your rights if you believe you or a loved one are a victim of malpractice. Please call our firm at 1-866-MICH LAW (1-866-779-7331) for a no obligation case evaluation. We never charge a fee unless we win.