Medical procedures can be stressful and sometimes traumatic. When the people you trust to provide your medical care are the same people that cause you greater injury, the situation can feel even more traumatic than before. While medical staff are humans who make mistakes, if a mistake is unreasonable and causes a patient serious injury, this can be classified as medical malpractice.
While hiring a medical malpractice attorney may seem like the logical next step after suffering the consequences of a healthcare provider’s medical negligence, knowing where to begin can be overwhelming.
Breaking down the process can make the search for an attorney feel less intimidating—review six steps you can take to hire a skilled medical malpractice attorney with Nessler & Associates.
Determine if You Have a Claim
Many victims of medical malpractice never file a claim. They may not realize they were subject to medical malpractice or feel too exhausted to fight the subsequent legal battle. While an attorney can handle the stress of a legal battle for you, many people don’t want to spend time looking for an attorney if they think they don’t have a case.
A medical malpractice case requires that you or a loved one receive medical care that is below the expected standard of care for a qualified medical professional. For example, if a patient’s medical records document a severe allergy to a medication, and a doctor administers the medication anyway, the patient or their family may have a claim for medical malpractice.
It can be difficult to distinguish an honest mistake from actual medical negligence. If you aren’t sure whether you have a claim, Nessler & Associates medical malpractice attorneys provide a free initial consultation where you can go over the details of your case.
Check the Statute of Limitations
Many states enforce a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, meaning you cannot file a claim after a certain amount of time has passed. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from when you or your loved one received improper treatment. If more than two years have passed, you cannot file a medical malpractice claim.
However, in some cases, there are exceptions to this two-year limit. For example, if a minor suffers from medical malpractice, the statute of limitations does not begin until they turn 18. Similarly, anyone considered legally disabled is not subject to the statute of limitations until they are no longer considered disabled. Your attorney can advise you on any possible exceptions.
Find an Attorney with Relevant Experience
Some personal injury lawyers may be unable to provide adequate representation in a medical malpractice case. Instead, search for an attorney with experience in medical malpractice and, ideally, experience in the specific type of suit you want to file. For example, if you are filing a claim for a birth injury, search for an attorney who is familiar with handling birth injury claims.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney will have the appropriate insight into your case. This means they can provide more accurate legal advice, consult with expert witnesses, and handle disputes with insurance companies that other personal injury attorneys may be unable to do.
Check the Attorney’s Disciplinary History
A medical malpractice lawsuit is a serious case, so it’s essential to ensure the attorney you’re looking at has no history of unethical behavior. If you find a medical malpractice lawyer, search for their name using the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s Lawyer Search.
The database will show you if the lawyer is currently authorized to practice in Illinois and if they have ever been disciplined by the state bar for unethical behavior.
Inquire About the Cost
Hiring a medical malpractice lawyer can be costly, so it’s important to find out how much they charge. Medical malpractice cases often take months or years, during which time you will need to keep paying your attorney for representation. If you can’t afford to pay your attorney, you may have to switch legal representation in the middle of your case.
At Nessler & Associates, we work on a contingency fee arrangement, so you get the legal representation you need to maximize your settlement. This means that you aren’t charged any legal fees until we settle or win your case.
You will be working with your attorney for an extended period, so it’s crucial that you are comfortable with them, their experience, and their communication style. In your first meeting or consultation with your attorney, you will have the opportunity to ask them questions about their experience in the field, how they handle cases like yours, and their expectations for the case.
If you have any questions for an attorney, write them down so you can ask them during your consultation. Some questions to ask include:
- The percentage of malpractice cases they handle
- How long have they been doing these types of cases
- The range of settlements or wins they have been able to obtain in similar cases
- The duration of these types of cases
- Who will represent you in your case (in some cases, you may be represented by another lawyer in the same firm)
- Whether the lawyer or a paralegal will be giving you updates on your case
Consult with Nessler & Associates Today
If you suspect you may have a case for medical malpractice, it’s vital to take action quickly before the statute of limitations runs out. With Nessler & Associates, you can rest assured that a skilled medical malpractice attorney will fight tirelessly to win your case at no cost to you unless we win.
Contact our law firm at (800) 727-8010 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.