A medical malpractice lawyer works to gain compensation for their clients from medical professionals who have caused harm by failing to follow accepted professional standards of practice. The harm is caused by negligence in action or in failure to act. Medical malpractice cases can be very expensive, as the result of professional negligence by a medical professional can lead to serious injury or death. Unfortunately, medical malpractice claims the lives of 195,000 people every year. Resolution of these cases can cost a hospital hundreds of millions of dollars.
To succeed, plaintiffs must prove four elements. First, they must prove that a legal duty existed. Second, it must be proven that the legal duty was breached by a failure to conform to accepted standards of care. Third, the plaintiff must prove that breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injury or death. Last, the plaintiff must prove damages, without which there is no basis for a case. It is not enough to prove negligence if there is no resulting damage.
Malpractice cases often see the use of expert testimony. These experts are usually used to establish the professional standard of care that was breached. An expert witness must be qualified by the Court before they can give relevant testimony. After the witness has been qualified, the expert testimony must meet certain legal criteria as well. Both sides in the case will often offer their own experts to refute each others assertions and solidify their own case.
The process of finding a malpractice lawyer is very similar to securing the services of any professional. Finding referrals is the best first step to take. A referral from a member of the legal profession can be very valuable, as most lawyers know which of their peers are competent and which are not. But, getting a referral from a former client can also be informative. It is best to get at least three names of lawyers or firms to consider, and check their client references. You should also meet with the lawyers who might be handling your case to assess how comfortable you feel with them representing you in court.
When choosing legal counsel, do not let price be the dictator. Malpractice lawsuits are highly specialized proceedings. You will find that you get the quality of representation that you pay for. While there is an accepted standard for malpractice attorneys, that minimum standard might not be enough to guarantee that you are fully compensated. Find a lawyer with experience and with a solid reputation for getting the best awards for their client. This can prevent you from having to file a future malpractice claim against your attorney.
If you are obviously injured and have a solid case, you should be able to hire a malpractice lawyer on a contingency basis. This means the lawyer gets paid a percentage of the settlement or judgment. This percentage can be from 25% to 40% of the award. Medical malpractice law is a lucrative field, and the contingency fee system helps keep frivolous suits out of court because no lawyer wants to prosecute a case that has a poor chance of winning. Contingency fees also serve to motivate the attorneys to win the highest amount possible for their client, because that means they get paid more as well. If you are having trouble finding legal representation, it might mean that there is a problem with your case. In that situation, you should have your records evaluated by a medical care professional. Armed with a positive finding, you might have a better chance at securing representation and achieving proper compensation.