Why You Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney for Your Medical Malpractice Claim
If you are thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim, you may be wondering if it matters whether you hire an attorney who focuses on medical malpractice. Obviously, as medical malpractice attorneys, we think it does. If you’ll indulge us for a few paragraphs, when you are done reading, we think you will agree with us.
There are a lot of very good reasons to work with an attorney who concentrates their practice in medical malpractice, and almost no downside. Here are some things you should consider before retaining an attorney for your case.
Experience Matters in Medical Malpractice Cases.
Medical malpractice cases are a type of personal injury case, so many people think that any personal injury lawyer can handle their case. That might be true in some cases, but not all. Medical malpractice cases are probably the most complex of all personal injury matters. If a personal injury attorney does not handle a lot of medical malpractice matters, they may not be prepared to handle the nuances of these cases.
Consider this analogy: a general surgeon may have learned how to perform cardiac bypass surgery as part of their training. But if you’re the one going under the knife, and a cardiac surgeon is available, you would probably prefer to have a doctor who performs surgeries like yours every day. A surgeon who operates exclusively on the heart and major blood vessels knows what can go wrong, how to prevent problems, and how to respond when unexpected circumstances arise.
Hiring a regular personal injury attorney for your medical malpractice case is like having a general surgeon do your cardiac bypass. Your odds are better with someone who does this work all the time.
Proving Liability is More Complicated in Medical Malpractice Cases.
Liability in a medical malpractice case depends on something called the standard of care. What that means is that a doctor is expected to treat patients as a reasonable doctor in a similar situation would. If that sounds vague and confusing, that’s because it can be. The standard of care depends heavily on circumstances, including locality and the resources available to the physician. As medical knowledge in an area changes, the standard of care also changes.
An attorney who brings a medical malpractice case on behalf of a client must be able to show that the doctor did not meet the standard of care for that type of doctor in that locality with those resources. Without being able to prove that, the whole case collapses, no matter how serious the patient’s injury or how great their damages.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney is more likely than other attorneys to not only understand what the standard of care is, but to know what is necessary to show that the doctor breached it. That is the linchpin of the case.
A Medical Malpractice Attorney Has Access to Experts.
Expert witnesses are important in many types of cases, but they are particularly important in medical malpractice cases. An expert witness may be necessary, for instance, to testify as to whether a doctor’s action (or inaction) was reasonable under the circumstances. Expert witnesses are also often called upon to testify as to the causation of the patient’s injury and to help a jury understand the extent of a patient’s injuries and how those injuries may limit them going forward. That is critical to ensuring a fair award of damages.
The credibility of an expert witness is important to establishing these elements of a medical malpractice case. Medical malpractice attorneys have relationships with highly respected, credible medical experts whose testimony can make or break the case.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Are Skilled at Negotiating with Insurance Companies.
Before your medical malpractice case ever makes it to trial, there are months of preparation — and settlement negotiation. In fact, the majority of medical malpractice cases don’t go to trial; these cases are much more likely to settle. Settlement is often the preferred outcome. It resolves your case more quickly, and spares you the stress of going to court.
But not every settlement offer is a good one. A medical malpractice insurer may offer you a quick settlement to make the case go away. You may be tempted to take the offer because you have medical bills to pay, and your injury may have made you at least temporarily unable to work. But you should never, ever accept a settlement in a medical malpractice matter without an attorney’s involvement.
If you accept a settlement from a doctor, hospital, or their insurer, you do so at a cost. That cost is the ability to later bring a lawsuit against them. If you take what you think is a good settlement, only to realize later that your damages are greater than you thought, you have no further recourse.
It is always a good idea to let an experienced medical malpractice attorney review your matter and any settlement offers. With their extensive experience, they can give you a much better idea of what your case is worth.
It Costs No More to Work with a Medical Malpractice Attorney.
Personal injury attorneys, including medical malpractice attorneys, generally accept cases on a contingency basis. That means that the client does not pay any attorney fee up front, but the attorney receives a percentage of any settlement or financial award. In other words, it costs the same to get the help of an attorney experienced in medical malpractice as it does to work with someone less experienced. Why wouldn’t you choose an attorney who is more likely to achieve the result you need?
If you still have questions, you should know that most medical malpractice law firms, including ours, offer a free consultation. We invite you to contact Huegli Fraser to learn more about how a medical malpractice attorney can help you.
The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent medical malpractice attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.