Medical malpractice cases are not easy, from a number of perspectives. You have probably read about victims of medical malpractice who won millions of dollars in a medical malpractice lawsuit, but such big wins are few and far between. In fact, trends show that less than a quarter of all medical malpractice victims who bring their cases to trial win anything. In this article, we'll explain how the right medical malpractice lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Aren’t lawyers all the same? Don’t I just need a good personal injury lawyer for my medical malpractice case? Unfortunately, no. In law, as in medicine and many other fields, you usually need a specialist. And in medical malpractice cases, you really need a specialist. Why is this?
It’s all because winning a medical malpractice case is so hard. Because your chances of winning are so low and because you only get one chance to present your case to the insurer and to a jury, you want the one lawyer who has the best chance of getting you the best outcome. So, in a medical malpractice case, the most important move that a malpractice victim can make to get satisfactory compensation is to find a qualified, experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
There are four important reasons for making sure that you hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer for your case and not just a regular personal injury lawyer:
Let's take a closer look at these factors.
The ordinary personal injury lawyer certainly deals with injuries all day long, but most ordinary personal injury cases involve soft tissue injuries, broken bones or other types of orthopedic injuries. In contrast, medical malpractice cases can involve damage to any part of the body. Medical malpractice lawyers are generally more experienced at bringing themselves up to speed on tricky, non-orthopedic injuries.
Another very significant reason for wanting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is that malpractice insurers simply may not respect a plaintiff’s lawyer who does not specialize in medical malpractice, especially at settlement time. In most cases, only an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can convince insurers to pay top dollar to settle a case. And because most malpractice victims settle their cases before trial, they certainly want a malpractice lawyer who will strike fear in the insurer’s wallet.
Experienced malpractice lawyers know how to find qualified medical expert witnesses. Almost every medical malpractice case requires a medical expert witness to provide an opinion that the defendant was negligent (i.e., that he/she committed malpractice). Without a proper opinion of liability from a qualified medical expert, your malpractice case will probably be dismissed.
But qualified medical experts are not easy to find. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as just calling up a competing doctor in the defendant’s specialty. Most doctors won’t get involved in medical malpractice cases because they don’t want to testify against a fellow doctor. So, qualified and willing medical expert witnesses are few and far between. Often, a malpractice lawyer has to use a medical expert from a different state.
Experienced medical malpractice lawyers know how to find medical expert witnesses. They might use medical expert services, or they might have doctors or nurses on their staff to help find experts. If they have been around long enough, they might even have the phone numbers of dozens or more willing doctors in their personal phone directory. Any way that they do it, the experienced malpractice lawyer has a leg up on the inexperienced lawyer in finding critical medical experts.
Medical malpractice cases are expensive, partly because medical experts are so expensive. Medical malpractice cases can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring to trial. Experienced medical malpractice lawyers know this and are prepared to bear the costs. Inexperienced or less qualified lawyers may be unwilling or unable to bear these costs and may pressure you to settle the case for short money. Worse, they might even walk away from the case.
An experienced malpractice lawyer knows the deal going in and won’t leave you high and dry.