If you were injured by a healthcare professional, chances are good you'll need to work with a medical malpractice attorney to obtain compensation for your damages and losses. It's critical that you take time to prepare for the meeting. While you are interviewing a lawyer to ensure he is she is the right person to handle your case, the attorney will be assessing you to decide if he or she wants to take on your. Here are a couple of tips for preparing for your meeting with the attorney to ensure it is productive.
Gather Together the Paperwork
Most medical malpractice attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, meaning they don't get paid unless and until the clients win or settle their cases. On top of that, medical malpractice lawsuits are very challenging to litigate. Approximately 80 percent of malpractice cases end with the patient receiving no compensation.
It's important to understand this because the attorney will be looking at your case to determine if he or she can win and whether the financial award will be large enough to cover his or her expenses. Therefore, you need to bring all the relevant paperwork for the attorney to look over to help them decide if you have a viable case and the best way to handle it.
Here are some things you should copy and bring to the meeting:
- A brief summary about the events that caused your injury
- A summary of medical treatments you underwent to fix the problem
- A list of healthcare providers you worked with (the attorney may need to obtain records from or interview them)
- Any correspondence from the offending medical professional, the place where he or she works, lawyers, and insurance companies
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Proof of damages and losses (e.g. lost time at work)
Do your best to organize the information so that it's easy to read and access. Place in a large envelope to reduce the risk you'll lose something.
Prepare a List of Questions
The second thing you want to do is prepare a list of questions to ask the attorney. It's important to write them down in a notebook. This will help you remember what you want to discuss with the lawyer. Additionally, if you're interviewing several different attorneys, you can take notes to compare later when deciding which lawyer is right for you.
Some questions you'll want to ask include:
- What is the contingency fee? (Attorneys typically charge a percentage of your settlement; e.g. 30 percent)
- How long has the attorney been practicing? Does he or she specialize in medical malpractice?
- How many cases has the attorney won or settled?
- Is the attorney willing to take the case to court if the healthcare provider won't settle?
- Does the attorney have experience dealing with the medical provider?
- How likely is it the defendant will settle the case?
- How has the attorney handled similar cases?
- How long does the attorney expect litigation to take?
- Are there any out-of-pocket expenses that must be paid? Does the attorney require a deposit?
- Will the attorney be handling the case personally or passing it onto another lawyer?
- If the attorney won't take the case, who does he or she recommend?
Be certain to get to the office a little bit early, and dress in nice but comfortable clothing. Remember, the attorney is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing him or her, and you want to make a good impression. Many attorneys offer free consultations. However, be sure to confirm whether this is the case when scheduling the meeting with the lawyer, and be prepared to pay the fee—if any—when you arrive.
For more information about litigating a medical malpractice case, contact a local lawyer or click here to investigate more.