Medical Negligence Attorney – Get a Good One Fast Or Risk Losing Out
Dealing with a medical condition can be stressful under the best circumstances. The last thing you need is for you or a loved one to suffer a setback because of a health care provider mistake. When it happens, do not blame yourself for feeling angry and frustrated. You need a medical negligence attorney to help you get your life back together. But act quickly because insurance defense lawyers have probably already begun working to keep you from recovering any money.
Before we discuss where to find a medical negligence attorney, let us start with a definition of medical malpractice is so that you are ahead of the curve when you first contact your attorney. Remember, despite jokes to the contrary, attorneys are human too. When you contact one about your case, the first hurdle will be to convince him or her that you are not a waste of time. I once received a call from a possible client because he was angry that his dog groomer had mistakenly shaved his dog bare. Needless to say, our conversation did not get very far.
So, what is medical malpractice? Put simply, it occurs when a health care provider makes a mistake involving the care of you or a loved one that results in some kind of harm. There are countless ways this can happen. Your attorney will give you a typically free initial consultation to determine the strength of your case.
Now that you have an idea of how your initial consultation will go, where do you turn to get an actual name of an attorney who can help? Here are several options to get you started.
1. Referrals. If someone you know has been the victim of medical negligence and is pleased with the sets of the law firm retained for the matter, by all method contact that firm for a free consultation. This is a fairly scarce situation, however. And some referrals should be taken with additional caution. A well-intentioned referral to a nephew or sister-in-law who happens to be an attorney may cost you if that person has no experience with medical negligence situations.
2. Medical Negligence Attorney Advertising. Believe it or not, as unappealing as many lawyer advertisements are, they are a great first to peek briefly indicator of the success a particular law firm has had with its medical malpractice situations. Think about it. These firms have big budgets to promote themselves and the kind of law they practice. That money comes from winning situations or securing large settlements.
It reminds me of something a senior partner told me years ago. One can always tell the difference between lawyers who win money from insurance companies and those who defend insurance companies by looking at their shirt cuffs. How is that, you may ask? In most situations a medical negligence attorney only gets paid by winning money for you. That is, he or she works for a “contingency fee”, taking a percentage of the money you win as payment. These attorneys want you to see that they are winners who bring in money. They use gold cufflinks and excursion fancy cars. The insurance defense attorneys are not paid contingency fees, but rather a flat, hourly rate to make sure you get as little money as possible. These attorneys want insurance companies to see that they are protecting insurance company money. They use plain button shirts and excursion sensible, modest cars. But do not let looks deceive. They are passionate about you getting as little money as possible.
Some great places to look for the “winners” with big advertising budgets include the phone book, billboards and, of course, the internet. As with anything, however, shared sense should prevail. It is possible for a firm to be too big such that you may feel you do not get the personal attention you deserve. You will get sense of the kind of attention you will receive from the very first interview. Listen to your instincts. Also, when it comes to contingency fees, be sure to see how to avoid costly mistakes when hiring a medical negligence attorney, below.
3. The State Bar Association. Many state bar associations have non-profit attorney referral programs. Check out the website for your particular state for details. Sometimes there is a charge for a referral, however. But while you are at the state bar association site, take a moment to see whether your state bar association makes obtainable information regarding disciplinary action against attorneys to make sure you do not get a bad apple.
Whichever route you take to find your attorney, the important thing is to act. All states have statutes of limitation which prevent legal actions against those who may have harmed you after a certain amount of time. Also, memories may be faulty, so it is important to get the details of your case on record as soon as possible.