Hiring a medical malpractice lawyer is challenging. While everyone wants to find the best possible attorney to hold a doctor accountable for an injury or death under their care, many people don’t know where to start. However, waiting too long to pick a lawyer can prevent you from filing at all: Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, making it more critical than ever to find an attorney quickly.
With careful research and a clear step-by-step process, you can easily find a medical malpractice attorney that’s right for you. Discover how you can find the best medical malpractice attorney.
Determine Your Type of Medical Malpractice Case
While medical malpractice typically isn’t broken down by the type of injury or malpractice, some attorneys have more experience in specific malpractice cases than others.
A medical error that causes lifelong disability, for instance, will require different negotiations with your health insurance company than one that results in a long-term hospital stay. Therefore, it’s essential to determine what type of medical malpractice case you’re facing so that you know what attorney to look for.
For example, if medical negligence during childbirth caused your baby to suffer a brain injury, seek a lawyer experienced in handling birth injuries. Similarly, if a medical professional provided the wrong dosage or type of prescription drugs to a loved one and led to their death, look for an attorney with experience in pharmacy negligence or wrongful death.
Assess Their Experience with Medical Malpractice Law
While many personal injury law firms will represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice lawsuit, medical malpractice is a particularly nuanced type of personal injury suit and may not be the firm’s primary practice area. Injuries or deaths caused by a medical error are handled differently than those caused by negligence outside of a medical setting, so a personal injury attorney may not have the skills required to handle a medical malpractice case.
Look into how many medical malpractice cases the law firm has taken on, how many have successfully settled or gone to trial, and how much they earned. Many law firms will list some of this information on their website. However, if you can’t find the information there, you can ask an attorney at the firm during your initial consultation.
If your case is complex, you may feel more confident having an attorney with many years of experience in medical malpractice cases.
A medical malpractice lawyer who frequently appears on billboards or advertisements may not be the right attorney for you. Instead, talk to people you know and ask for recommendations for medical malpractice lawyers. While you may not know anyone who has directly worked with a medical malpractice attorney, you may find a good recommendation through a friend.
Review the Lawyer’s Fees
Traditionally, lawyers expect payment as you work with them, and legal cases can last a very long time. Look for an attorney whose fees you can afford over an extended period. If the case lasts longer than expected and you can no longer afford representation, you may be forced to change attorneys or drop the case.
The majority of personal injury attorneys, including medical malpractice attorneys, take cases on contingency. Contingency means that your lawyer does not collect any fees from you while building and arguing your case, and they do not collect payment if you lose.
However, if your lawyer works on contingency and you win a settlement or compensation, your attorney will take a percentage of your earnings as payment. Some attorneys take higher percentages than others, so you may want to inquire about the attorney’s contingency fee.
Review Your Lawyer’s Disciplinary History
The stakes in a medical malpractice case are often much higher than those in a personal injury case, making it more important than ever to ensure your lawyer is trustworthy. The American Bar Association requires that a lawyer’s disciplinary records remain public so that potential clients are aware if a lawyer has been disciplined by the bar for acting unethically.
The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission hosts a lawyer search tool allowing you to look up lawyers by name. This registration shows whether a lawyer is licensed to practice in Illinois and whether their license to practice has ever been suspended or revoked.
After finding a lawyer you feel is qualified to take your case, it’s crucial to have a first meeting or consultation with the attorney. The initial consultation allows the attorney to gather the basic details of your case and allows you to explore their experience with medical malpractice cases. Questions that can help you learn this include:
- How long they have taken medical malpractice cases
- How often they take cases involving medical malpractice
- Previous malpractice cases they have taken and how they settled
- Whether the attorney has taken on cases like yours in the past
- How long they expect the case to last
It’s also important to ensure that you’re comfortable with the way your attorney communicates and how they plan on handling your case. In order to determine this, ask questions about the following:
- How frequently your attorney communicates
- Who communicates with you (the attorney directly or a paralegal?)
- Who in the firm represents you (sometimes the attorney you’re speaking to will represent you, while other times it will be another attorney in the firm)
- How your attorney tends to pursue a case (aggressively or gently?)
- What your attorney expects of your case
Consult Multiple Lawyers
Every attorney is different: some are communicative, some fight more aggressively for their clients than others, and all handle cases differently. If possible, schedule consultations with multiple lawyers before establishing an attorney-client relationship with one. A significant number of lawyers provide free consultations, so it’s a good idea to use these consultations to determine whether you’re comfortable with an attorney or not.
Schedule a Consultation with Nessler & Associates Today
The impact of a doctor’s negligence can be life-changing and leave you unsure of the next steps to take. It can be challenging to pick an attorney in Illinois when facing medical bills, severe injury or disability, or the loss of a loved one. The medical malpractice attorneys at Nessler & Associates are prepared to take on your case and fight for the compensation you or your loved one deserve.
You shouldn’t be forced to bear the brunt of high legal fees in addition to subpar medical care and its associated complications. By taking cases on contingency, our law firm ensures that you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case. Call us at (800) 727-8010 or schedule a free online consultation.