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If you think you have a legal case against a physician or medical facility, you are not alone. Every year in the United States, there are about 20,000 medical malpractice claims filed. These cases make up about 15% of all personal injury cases around the country. If you are going to file such a claim, it is important to get the right medical malpractice attorney. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
- Talk to people you know. Given the litigious society in which we live and the prevalence of accidents at work, there is a good chance that you know someone who has hired a personal injury lawyer. Talk to the people you know and trust and see if you know anyone who knows a decent lawyer who specializes in this kind of law. You may not end up hiring the same person you friend or family member hired but you can get an idea of where to start your search.
- Look online. You can find just about anything online and a good lawyer is no different. A simple search engine search can bring you a list of medical malpractice lawyers in your area. From there, you can look at individual law firm’ websites to get a sense of what your options are.
- Talk to the bar association. You can either look at the local bar association’s website or you can pick up the phone and call them. They will be able to give you personal injury law firms in your area. You do need to find a good lawyer in your area because the statute of limitations for these kinds of cases differs from state to state. For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years in Idaho.
- Talk to at least three law firms. Given the fact that personal injury claims have a date by which they need to be filed, it can be tempting to rush the process of hiring a lawyer. That is a mistake. Before you hire any law firm to help with your case, you should take the time to talk to at least three law firms. That way you will have a better idea of what your options are. Even if you end up going with the first law firm you meet with, you will feel better knowing you talked to a few.
- Take advantage of the free first consultation. Law firms do not charge for a first consultation to allow prospective clients to get to know them and it helps them properly assess the merits of a case. This is especially important with medical malpractice and other personal injury claims. During these sessions, you should take the time to get all of your questions answered. Here are a few you should ask:
- Why did you go into this field? You need someone who really cares about what they do and is not just “phoning it in.”
- How long have you worked on medical malpractice cases? You need to have someone represent you who has some experience dealing with these kinds of cases.
- How much of your time is spent on personal injury cases? Most lawyers handle more than one kind of law and that should not prevent you from hiring a lawyer. If they only do one personal injury case a year, you may want to keep going with your search.
- What is the fee structure like? Some law firms work on a contingency basis meaning you do not pay their fees if you lose. The problem is you still may be on the hook for other costs related to your case. Every law firm makes up its own schedule and policy for charging fees so you need to understand fully how the law firm you hire handles this. Reputable law firms will have no problem explaining this to you.
- Who will work on my case? In addition to lawyers, law firms hire paralegals, legal assistants, and others to work on cases. You should be able to get to know the people who work on your case.
The right medical malpractice lawyer can make all the difference with your case. These five tips can help you find one.