Dos and don'ts before hiring a medical malpractice lawyer
Many medical malpractice claims are lost before a lawyer is ever consulted. Others are lost because the wrong lawyers are contacted. To avoid losing your case before it begins, follow my list of simple "Do's and Don't s". True medical malpractice should never be allowed to happen more than once.
DO know exactly who treated you and who they work forWhen it comes to making a claim for medical malpractice, not all doctors and hospitals are the same. In most all jurisdactions, doctors who work for the government and hospitals owned by the government are treated differently than doctors who work for themselves and hospitals owned by private corporations. Basically, government doctors and hospitals enjoy many protections from suit that private doctors and hospitals lack. In many jurisdictions, you must notify the government that you intend to sue a government doctor or hospital well before the statute of limitations would run for other types of claims. For example, Idaho law requires a claimant wanting to sue a doctor or hospital run by any branch of state government to notify the government within 180 days of knowing that they may have a case. If your case is against a government doctor or hospital, talk to a lawyer immediately.
DO know how long you have to bring your caseMedical malpractice claims must be filed within a certain period of time, i.e., Statute of Limitations, as determined by state law. The time limitations ususally begin to run as soon as you either knew or should have known that you were injured. Make sure you talk to a lawyer within the Statute of Limitations assuming it started to run on the date you were injured, whether or not you were aware of the injury. If you are not sure what the statute of limitations is for medical malpractice in your state, any lawyer practicing in your state should be able to tell you.
DON'T delay talking to a lawyer unless you know how long you have to file your malpractice suitMedical malpractice is a specialized area of the law and most lawyers and law firms will not handle such cases. But, any lawyer in your jurisdiction should be able to help you determine how long you have to bring your suit. So I recommend that you immediately talk with some lawyer, any lawyer, as soon as you discover what you to believe to have been medcial malpractice. Then you can use whatever time you have left before the Statute of Limitations runs, to find the best medical malpractice lawyer to handle your case.
DON'T retain a lawyer or law firm to handle your case that hasn't handled medical malpractice cases in your state before.Lawyers want to take good cases and medical malpractice lawyers are no different. Experienced medical malpractice lawyers can seperate good from bad potential cases. They also can explain to you why they believe your case is either a good or bad malpractice case. Not all malpractice can be sucessfully pursued in court. For example, malpractice that doesn't result in significant damages cannot result in a recovery large enough to justify bringing the case to court. Medical malpractice cases are not only difficult cases to win, they are also expensive. Expert witnesses are required in all medical malpractice cases. In sum, hire only experienced medical malpractice attorneys and rely on their advice.