Frequently, the lawyer you meet is not the lawyer who performs the majority of the work on the case. Clients do not appreciate being "switched" to an unfamiliar, less experienced lawyer whom they have not met. Many firms utilize less experience associate attorneys to take depositions and attend hearings. Depositions can be the single most important aspect of a medical malpractice case. Even if the senior partner ends up trying the case, he will be stuck with the testimony taken by his less experienced associate.
What Are The specific Qualifications Of The Handling Attorney In Medical Malpractice Cases
Many lawyers boast of their significant trial experience. However, medical malpractice cases are not screened, handled, or tried the same as other cases. You want to know if your potential medical malpractice lawyer has any specific qualifications relating to medical malpractice cases. For instance, the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys provides a board certification in medical malpractice to qualified attorneys. Additionally, you will want to know how many medical malpractice cases, including depositions and trials the lawyer has handled. Do not settle for a generalized statement of years of experience without specifically asking about medical malpractice cases.
Does The Handling Attorney Belong To Any Professional Organizations Specifically Related to Medical Malpractice Cases
One way to determine an attorney's dedication to handling medical malpractice cases is to ask him/her about their involvement in professional organizations specifically related to issues of medical malpractice. Virtually every state has an association of trial lawyers that has a medical malpractice section. Lawyers who are actively involved in the medical malpractice sections at the national and local levels are more in tune with ongoing issues. They are also involved in the legislative process in analyzing bills for passage or opposing bad bills which will be detrimental to patients. If a lawyer is serious about handling medical malpractice cases, he will be very involved in these types of organizations.
Has the Handling Lawyer Ever Been Recognized By An Objective Third Party Source For His Achievements
It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether the listed accomplishments or awards received by a lawyer are truly objective and deserving. Many organizations will provide a certificate of merit or an award if the lawyer fills out a form and pays a fee. They do no independent verification to determine the legitimacy of the lawyer's skill and qualifications to handle medical malpractice cases. Do not be afraid to ask the lawyer what were the criteria for any award he claims to have received. Then, do some research into this organization to see if it is based on objective criteria.
Does the Handling Lawyer Write or Teach on Medical Malpractice Topics
Again, those of us who are truly dedicated to this area of practice frequently write and speak on medical malpractice topics. Although most experienced lawyers have given legal speeches to other attorneys and judges, those which frequently write and teach on medical malpractice issues are generally more up to date on all the current issues facing this difficult practice area. Ask for copies of speeches or a listing of recent teaching assignments.
Research The Potential Lawyer On The Internet
The internet can be a great source of information. Start with the lawyer's web site. Does he represent to the world that he is an expert in handling automobile cases when he is telling you that he is a medical malpractice lawyer? Often, articles which are written by and/or about an attorney appear on the internet. If he frequently writes on medical malpractice topics, chances are his work will appear somewhere on the internet. Does he write legal guides and answer medical malpractice questions for great sites like AVVO?
What Is The Lawyer's Reputation With Other Lawyers In The Legal Community
In most states, the lawyers who handle medical malpractice cases on both the plaintiff and defense side comprise a small portion of that state's bar of attorneys. They generally know each other and their reputations. Ask a lawyer who defends medical malpractice cases about your potential plaintiff's medical malpractice lawyer. If your potential lawyer is good, his reputation with the defense bar will be well known. If he is an unknown, or not a specialist in medical malpractice, chances are that the defense lawyer will not know him.
What is the Lawyer's Reputation With Judges In The Legal Community
Although it may be more difficult to ascertain a lawyer's reputation among the judges in front of whom he practices if you do not know those judges, there are organizations that compile information about lawyers which has been given by the judges who know him. Additionally, if the lawyer has appeared on a panel with judges to teach other lawyers about medical malpractice issues, then he is likely respected by those judges.
How Does The Lawyer Select Experts To Testify In These Cases
There is no one perfect way to select experts in a medical malpractice case. However, an experience medical malpractice attorney usually has many top experts with whom he has worked who are excellent trial witnesses. Physicians who practice medicine everyday, but who can teach medicine to the lay person juror are usually the best. Hiring an expert who is a professional testifying witness can be detrimental to the case. Ask the lawyer about his resources in procuring experts.
What Do Former Clients Say About The Attorney
Do not be afraid to ask the attorney to provide references from willing former clients. If he has the experience in handling medical malpractice cases successfully, he should have many prior satisfied clients.