Medical Malpractice Claim: Medical Treatment errors are a very complicated case. It is really very important to find the right lawyer to represent you in your claim for malpractice.
The best way to find a good malpractice-attorney is to ask a lawyer you already know and trust to recommend one. Most lawyers have long lists of contacts, which are the result of years of litigation and networking from lawyer to lawyer.
If you do not know any lawyers, but have a close friend or relative who has appointed a lawyer, ask the friend or relative to ask the lawyer to recommend one. Most lawyers will be happy to help you.
Almost all state and local-bar associations have attorney referral services that connect potential clients with qualified lawyers. Most bar associations require lawyers who wish to be listed in a field such as medical malpractice to demonstrate a certain level of experience in that area.
To contact an attorney, simply call the bar association or send an email to be referred to a qualified attorney. Begin an online search for “Bar Association” in your city or state.
Do your own online searches.
Many websites (including this one) offer a method of connecting potential clients to lawyers by area of expertise. You can use a “chat” feature or send an email request along with some general information about your case so that qualified local lawyers can call you.
What is a lawyer to ask?
When considering a medical malpractice attorney, the most important questions are the attorney’s experience in medical- malpractice-cases and whether you and the attorney are a good-fit.
How experienced is the attorney?
When hiring a the right medical malpractice attorney, you want to find an attorney who has extensive experience in medical malpractice cases. This do not mean that the attorney must have handled only medical malpractice cases, but a significant percentage of the attorney’s caseload should probably be spent on medical malpractice.
You may want also to ask the lawyer about his experience in malpractice cases. What types of malpractice cases has the lawyer handled? How many number of years has the lawyer been handling these cases? How many have been settled? What were the lawyer’s comparisons with medical malpractice cases?
How many lawsuits for medical malpractice has the attorney had?
How many lawsuits has the attorney won?
Remember that medical malpractice cases are hard to win, and most lawsuits end with a defence verdict. So you should not expect the lawyer to have won most of his medical malpractice cases.
How does the lawyer find medical experts?
In almost every case of medical malpractice, a medical expert must prove that the defendant healthcare provider’s action or inaction has reached the level of medical negligence. If you have a case of medical malpractice and cannot find a qualified medical expert who believes the defendant was negligent, your case will almost certainly be-dismissed.
Very Experienced medical malpractice lawyers know how to find a medical expert in a particular field. Some work with medical experts, others are so experienced that they literally have the names and phone-numbers of numerous doctors in almost every speciality. You will want an answer that shows that the lawyer knows what he or she is doing.
Are You and the Lawyer a Good Fit?
This can be almost as-important as the competence and experience of the lawyer. If you and the lawyer cannot get along, that is a red flag.
To find out whether you and a lawyer are a good match, you have to judge yourself and the lawyer. Are you the kind of guy who just gives the case to the lawyer? Or do you want to hear from the lawyer often to get updates and make your own contributions? If you know who you are and what you expect, you can decide what type of lawyer is best for you.
Lawyers come in all types, just like people. There are scarce, brusque lawyers, and there are warm, friendly, sensitive lawyers. They may all be equally effective at getting money for their clients, but they may all have completely different kinds of relationships with their clients. It is up to you to find out what kind of relationship between lawyer and client you want.
How much does a lawyer cost for malpractice?
Medical malpractice cases can be very expensive in litigation. Once you have found some candidates, you will want to discuss the fee structure in detail. On the next page you will learn how these fee structures work for unforeseen expenses
For a patient contemplating a medical malpractice suit, the big question is, “How much will a lawyer cost me?” The answer might be encouraging to patients who have suffered harm from the provision of substandard health care.
This is because lawyers for malpractice often offer free initial consultations to discuss the process of filing a complaint and the potential strengths and weaknesses of the patient’s case.
If the lawyer takes up the case, he or she is likely to work under a contingency fee-agreement in which payment for the lawyer’s services is made only if the case is successfully resolved (by settlement or jury award).
Let’s take a closer look at the common-fee arrangements in cases of malpractice, the key considerations for potential clients, and much more.
Joint fee agreements for treatment errors
Most medical malpractice attorneys represent a client under a contingent fee agreement, which means that the entire attorney fee is paid as a percentage of the award or settlement in the case. If the case finally goes to court and the patient loses, or if the client does not receive anything to settle, the lawyer will never paid a fee.
The portion of the award that goes to the attorney may vary, but the most common contingent fee is 33-percent of the award or settlement. Some agreements may use different numbers for different circumstances.
For example, an agreement might provide for an emergency fee of 33 percent if the case is settled before the trial and an emergency fee of 40 percent if the case is taken to court.
Another issue is who bears the costs of litigation, which can be significant.
These costs include fees for medical experts, fees for filing court documents and the costs of obtaining medical records from hospitals. Many lawyers use agreements that provide for the lawyer to bear the costs of the proceedings, at least initially.
For example, a patient and a lawyer could agree on a contingency fee of 33 percent, with the lawyer bearing the cost of litigation (at least “up front”), but in the event of a successful litigation, the costs will be covered come out of the award first. Suppose the case is settled at $100,000, and the cost of the lawsuit was $10,000
In such a case, the attorney would be reimbursed the cost of the lawsuit from the settlement money, leaving $90,000 USD. The lawyer would then pay the contingent fee of $30,000. The patient would be left with -$60,000.
Important considerations for clients
One important thing that every potential client of medical malpractice should remember is that legal fees may be negotiable. Does this mean that you should consult at least five different lawyers and compare-prices and qualifications? Probably not, but there is absolutely no reason why potential clients should not look for the right medical malpractice attorney.
Remember that initial consultations are usually free.
Not only may the fee percentage be negotiable, but other conditions may be up for discussion.
Laws Affecting Medical Malpractice Fee Arrangements
Some experts on treatment error reform have argued that high fees for unforeseen expenses help to increase the cost of health care. As a result, some states have passed-legislation that limits contingency fees in cases of medical errors. Some of these states include California, Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
The details of these laws vary. For example, a California law limits attorneys’ fees in cases of malpractice to 40 per cent of the first $50,000, 33 and one-third of the next $50,000, 25 per cent of the next $500,000, and 15 per cent of any amount over $600,000.
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