A medical malpractice attorney, or a med mal attorney, is an attorney who specializes in cases regarding medical malpractice. Most medical practice attorneys will either defend medical professionals in medical malpractice lawsuits or will represent the injured patients in these cases. Medical malpractice attorneys will typically only represent just one of these. In the case of a medical malpractice case, an injured patient will hire the “plaintiff’s lawyer.”
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the professional negligence by omission or act by a health care professional where a treatment provided does not pass the accepted standards of medical practice, resulting in patient injury or death, usually due to medical error. The regulations and standards for medical malpractice can vary between different jurisdictions. Because of medical malpractice, medical professionals often opt into professional liability insurances in order to offset the costs and risks of lawsuits that are based on medical malpractice.
Examples of typical malpractice cases that med mal attorneys take on include:
• Inadequate burn therapy
• Delayed treatment
• Birth complications
• Unnecessary procedures
• Adverse drug reactions
• Inadequate medication
• Errors with experimental therapy
• Undetected hemorrhaging
• Laboratory test errors
• Transfer without consent
• Failure to diagnose
• Anesthesia errors
• Improper procedure
• Nursing home abuse
• Surgical Errors
• Failure to obtain informed consent
• Wrongful death
How to find a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
There are many different ways to find a med mal attorney. One of the most effective ways to begin finding one is through referrals from either family or friends, or through online research. An alternative, a great way to find local medical malpractice attorneys is to use different lawyer directories that are quality assured. These sites work to connect potential clients to experienced medical malpractice attorneys. These sites usually allow users to search for medical malpractice attorney by cities or state.
As a prospective client, you must look for a medical malpractice attorney who has had extensive experience in handling medical malpractice cases. In order to verify the quality of the medical malpractice attorney’s work, it is ideal to ask the attorney for references. You should also find out whether the medical malpractice attorney is also a member of the state bar association as well as the American Bar Association. A client should be clear on what the med mal attorney’s rates are and should discuss during the consultation what the arrangements are regarding early payments.
When looking for the right medical malpractice attorney, some important things to look for include:
• Experience in negligent healthcare lawsuits
• Successful case results
• Reasonable fees
• An attorney with the time and resources to properly represent your medical malpractice claim
• A medical malpractice attorney who takes continuing education classes
• Aggressive representation from the medical malpractice attorney
• An attorney who will personally meet you for the initial consultation
How to Prepare for a Meeting with a Medical Malpractice Attorney
When you go to meet a med mal attorney for the initial consultation, the best thing to do is bring any documentation you have in regards to your case of suspected medical malpractice. This includes any documents that you feel help show the medical professional’s liability. The medical malpractice attorney will need to know some specific information about the case happened and will most likely have some questions to ask the victim as well. A med mal attorney’s insight is very helpful and can help determine the value of the medical malpractice case.
It is also important to ask the medical malpractice attorney some questions about his or her legal career and practice. Have the attorney tell you his or her ideal approach in your particular circumstances and listen to their proposed strategies.
Some questions to ask a med mal attorney include:
• How many cases involving medical malpractice cases has the medical malpractice dealt with?
• What is the attorney’s success rate in similar cases?
• Does the medical malpractice attorney usually represent patients or health care professionals?
• How many similar cases were settled out of court?
• Are there any past clients or references available to talk to?
• Is the med mal attorney a member of the state bar association as well as the American Bar Association?
• How much will the med mal attorney charge in fees? Are the fees based on an hourly rate?
• Does the attorney take cases on a contingency fee basis?
• If you lose the case in court, what fees will you have to pay (ex. Filing fees, fees for experts)
• Who will personally handle the case? Would a less experienced attorney take on the case?
• Will the medical malpractice attorney take on the case on a contingency basis, and will he or she have the necessary financial resources to do so?
Rates, Fees, and Retainers for Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Money is a very important area to properly discuss in an initial consultation with any medical malpractice attorney. You will want to get a proper estimate of what the attorney thinks the case is worth. After receiving an estimate regarding the value of the case, you will also want to get an estimate from the medical malpractice attorney retarding the legal fees and expenses of the case and how it will affect your bottom line.
As a victim of medical malpractice, you may already have an idea how of how much the medical malpractice has cost you so far. However, you may also be entitled to receive money in order to cover any future expenses related to the injury, such as harder-to-quantify compensation for harm as well as pain and suffering and to your marital relationship.
You should ask all med mal attorneys you speak to about how familiar they are with this particular injury and how exactly how they plan to establish an award. If an estimate you receive is significantly different from others, find out the reasoning for this. When discussing the possible financial awards of the case, be sure to ask for separate estimates depending on whether the case settles or if it goes to court.
When discussing legal fees as well as possible award amounts, the answers you receive from medical malpractice attorneys must be realistic and reasonable. One of the biggest advantages of meeting with many med mal attorneys is that you may notice patterns in the feedback received from various attorneys. For example, if two attorneys say that the case is worth a certain amount but a third attorney claims it is much higher, you will want to find out why the third attorney believes in this difference. This also applies with legal fee estimates given by med mal attorneys.