3 THINGS TO ASK A LAWYER DURING A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CONSULTATION
If you've been the victim of medical malpractice, you aren't alone. It's estimated that medical malpractice cases make up roughly 15% of all personal injury cases within the United States. But it's easy to feel as if you're alone if it's happened to you. A lot of people who have suffered from medical malpractice are made to feel as if they're the only ones seeing what they're seeing. After all, the doctors couldn't be wrong, could they?
Sometimes, doctors and hospitals admit fault but attempt to minimize its severity. In other cases, they deny that an incident happened at all. This is why personal injury law exists: to aid those who have been victimized by others, whether through carelessness or through a simple but costly mistake. In turn, that is why personal injury lawyers exist.
Though you can attempt a medical malpractice claim on your own, this is typically ill-advised. It's important that you work with someone with expertise, who can ensure that your interests are fully represented and that you get the best possible outcome for your case. But even after you've decided to find a lawyer, choosing a law firm or an individual attorney can be tricky. It's during that initial consultation that you need to essentially interview your potential attorney in order to ensure that they are the best fit for you and your case. So how should you go about that? Ask your lawyer these three questions during your initial consultation.
1. WHAT ARE YOUR CASE OUTCOMES?
While some attorneys have general stats and information about their successes on their websites, and others may even have some of their cases publicized locally, your consultation is an opportunity for you to ask about the details. You need to be blunt when questioning your potential attorney, asking about how many of their personal injury cases go to trial and what the outcomes for their cases tend to be. Don't be surprised when many attorneys tell you that they very rarely, if ever, go to trial with personal injury cases. This is not a flaw. Very few personal injury cases actually go to court, as most settle in the pretrial phase. But you do need to know if you and your potential attorney conflict on the direction your case should take. If it's important to you that you go to trial but your potential attorney tries to avoid that as much as possible, you may not be the right fit for each other.
2. WHAT IS YOUR NEGOTIATION STYLE?
In many ways, lawyers are negotiating for their clients. This is especially important in personal injury cases. One big reason why those pursuing personal injury cases usually hire lawyers is that their lawyers can negotiate a settlement or another type of compensation for them. In many cases, they can make the potential number bigger than an individual layperson would. Of course, you need to be comfortable with your lawyer's negotiation style. Do you want someone who is extremely aggressive, or would you rather avoid as much conflict as possible? Your lawyer's negotiation style does need to mirror your own style perfectly, but during that consultation, you need to establish what their negotiation style is and whether or not it suits your goals.
3. WHAT IS YOUR BILLING PROCESS?
Fee structures and billing processes may not be the most exciting part of your consultation with your potential attorney, but it's something that you must address before moving forward. Some lawyers will charge an hourly or flat fee for their services, but many will work on contingency — meaning they'll receive a percentage of your settlement or award, but only if they win the case. You can request an estimate of the total cost when you speak with a lawyer, though it's often impossible to ascertain how much that would be.
Speaking with a lawyer can be intimidating. However, it's ultimately a great first step for your case. For more information on how we can help you with your medical malpractice claim, please contact us today.