How to Find a Good Medical Malpractice Lawyer

How to Find a Good Medical Malpractice Lawyer
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Medical malpractice is a very complex area of the law. There are many deadlines, special requirements, and limitations that apply only to these types of cases. It is all but impossible to navigate a “med mal” case without the help of an experienced attorney.

When you have a lawyer on your side, they will make sure that you meet all the deadlines to litigate your case, hire the experts needed to prove that malpractice occurred, and maximize your recovery so that you can have the best quality of life as you deal with the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of a doctor’s malpractice. It is important to find a lawyer who has experience in this complex area of law. If you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice, you may wonder what to expect when you hire a medical malpractice attorney.

The Benefits of a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Good Lawyers Know What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice

Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can be very expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. It is thus important to know if your case has a good chance of being successful before you file a claim. Not every bad outcome from a surgery or medical treatment can support a medical malpractice claim; the doctor must have violated the standard of medical care that reasonable doctors must observe.

Good lawyers know the legal requirements to prove medical malpractice and will consult with doctors or other medical professionals to determine if you have a strong claim before making any promises about the outcome of your case. If you have a claim, your attorney will work diligently to meet the many requirements necessary to pursue a medical malpractice case.

A Good Lawyer will Manage the Paperwork

A medical malpractice lawsuit involves a lot of paperwork. Your lawyer will help you obtain and go through the medical records to prove your case, financial records and medical bills to prove your damages, and more. Your lawyer will also help you answer written questions, called interrogatories, and identify the records that must be given to the defense attorney. With a lawyer working on these tasks, you will have more time to focus on recovering from your injuries.

A Good Lawyer Has Trial Experience

Not many medical malpractice lawsuits make it to trial. About 93 percent of cases reach a settlement and do not go before a judge and jury. Although it is unlikely, going to trial may end up being necessary to get the compensation you deserve. Therefore, it is important to find a lawyer with trial experience.

Lawyers with trial experience know how to choose a jury, present evidence, follow courtroom procedures and build a convincing argument. These skills are necessary to improve your chances of a successful verdict. Even with strong evidence, historically plaintiffs have only won at trial 50 percent of the time.

A Good Lawyer Will Maximize Your Compensation

An experienced medical malpractice lawyer knows how to identify all of your recoverable damages to maximize a settlement or jury verdict. Medical malpractice victims may struggle financially due to medical bills and their inability to return to work; an experienced lawyer will work to negotiate a reduction in your medical bills and account for all lost past and future income. Although Michigan has limits on damages for pain and suffering, a good attorney knows how to persuasively argue that you are entitled to the highest possible amount under that cap. The highest possible settlement will help you get back on your feet, pay your bills, and improve your quality of life as you live with the consequences of medical malpractice.

A good lawyer knows what increases the value of your claim. They can negotiate with the defendant and insurers to work toward a fair settlement.

A Good Lawyer Has Resources

Another reason to hire a medical malpractice lawyer is that they have the resources necessary to make your claim successful. Your case must be supported by a medical expert who will testify that the doctor did something wrong. An experienced attorney knows which type of expert to get and how to find someone who will connect with a jury. Law firms also have various other resources to make your lawsuit proceed smoothly and efficiently.

Here at Gruel Mills, we have extensive experience with medical malpractice claims. We know what makes a good case and how to pursue it to maximize your compensation. We have a medical team ready to make sure your case is presented in the strongest way and we have connections throughout the Grand Rapids and West Michigan area with experts and treating doctors you may need. Our attorneys have experience trying cases and we have developed a reputation as a law firm you can trust.

Qualities to Look For in a Medical Malpractice Attorney

A good medical malpractice attorney will have the following characteristics:

  • Compassion. Victims of medical malpractice face many physical, emotional, and financial consequences. They need an attorney who understands their situation and treats them with care and respect. You should not feel like you are simply a case to win.
  • Mediation skills. Medical malpractice claims can take a while. However, a case can settle without litigation if both parties agree to a deal. Your lawyer should have skills in negotiation and mediation.
  • Communication. Your attorney should be able to listen to what you have to say. They must address concerns and answer your questions on time. Your attorney should provide prompt updates on any changes to your case.
  • Confidence. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be challenging, and the defendant may put up a fight. Your lawyer should give you a sense of confidence when you meet them. They need to be realistic about the odds of success, but also believe in your case.
  • A record of success. Find an attorney who has won settlements for previous clients. A history of victories shows the lawyer has some experience and knows how to identify the best strategy.
  • Assertive. A few lawyers might settle for less to avoid a prolonged litigation process or a trial. An assertive lawyer makes a client’s voice heard and works toward fair compensation.

The attorneys at Gruel Mills embody these characteristics. We strive to understand exactly what you are going through and accommodate your needs. We have extensive knowledge and experience in settlement strategies, including mediation. We only take cases that we believe in, and this makes it easy to be confident and assertive as we pursue your claim. Our long record of successful medical malpractice and other personal injury claims shows that we can help you too.

How a Lawyer Calculates Damages

How to Find a Good Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice lawyers are an asset because they know how to calculate damages accurately. Lawyers will calculate your economic damages by gathering all of your medical bills, evidence of lost wages, and any other financial consequences you have suffered as a result of the medical malpractice. Lawyers may hire experts to calculate what your future care needs will be or your future lost wages.

You are also entitled to non-economic damages, which is an amount of money paid to compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced. There is no formula for calculating these damages, and they are more difficult to determine than economic damages. An attorney may multiply your economic damages or pick a daily rate for each day you have suffered as you recover. The more severe your injuries and the longer it will take to recover, the more non-economic damages you have.

Michigan has a two-tiered damage cap for noneconomic damages, and the specific amount increases each year with inflation. Certain injuries qualify for the higher cap. A good lawyer will understand which cap applies to your claim and work to maximize your recovery within that limit.

Contact

What to Expect From a Consultation

Our webpage has a “Case Review Request” form where you can provide details about your case. We will contact you to discuss your case or schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. This initial consultation is free – you do not have to pay a cent, whether we take your case or not.

A Review of the Facts

At the initial consultation, we will go over the facts of the case. We need to know the date of the injury and the doctor or hospital responsible for your condition. We will also talk about the extent of your injury or illness, where you are in your recovery, and if your injuries will likely be permanent.

We need documents to help review the details of any potential medical malpractice claim. Bring a copy of any medical records and bills you have, and any records of lost income.

You do not need to bring every piece of information; we will request all of your records if you move forward with litigation. However, the more records you can bring, the better we can understand and evaluate your case.

An Assessment of the Strengths and Weaknesses

After we review the facts, we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the claim. We may have a doctor or other medical professional review your medical records to see if the doctor did something wrong that will make them liable for malpractice. We will assess what documents or other evidence you will need to support your claim.

We will also explain any potential weaknesses in the case that the defendant could use against you. If your case has any significant weaknesses, we may recommend that you do not bring a medical malpractice claim at all. These cases are very expensive and stressful, and they can drag on for months. If we do not think that you have a good chance of recovery, we will not put you through that difficult process.

Ask Questions

The consultation is a time for you to ask questions as well. We want to make sure all of your questions are answered. You may want to ask about our experience, such as our many previous successful medical malpractice cases. You may want to ask who will be assigned to your case at the firm; there may be multiple attorneys as well as a paralegal and assistant who will be working with you.

You may have other questions, and we will take the time to answer them. By the end of the meeting, you should feel confident about your decision to hire us.

How Much Does a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Charge?

Scott R. Melton - Medical Malpractice Attorney in Grand Rapids, MI.
Scott R. Melton, Medical Malpractice Lawyer

While you decide whether to hire a lawyer, you may wonder how much their services will cost. You may have heard about lawyers charging high fees for every hour of their work. However, we charge what is called a contingency fee. This means that our fee is a set percentage of the compensation you get when you win. If we are not successful, you do not have to pay us a fee.

In any case, you may be responsible for litigation costs. These expenses include expert witness fees, filing costs, transcripts, and postage. If your case is successful, these expenses are also deducted from the final settlement or judgment.

We will discuss the specifics of the contingency fee arrangement in the initial meeting. You will sign a fee agreement setting forth the details after you learn and understand how these fees and expenses will be paid.