1. Is the attorney Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law?
The State of Texas has set up a unique system where attorneys can obtain a certification in a particular area of practice. For a medical malpractice case, you should look for an attorney that is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law. This is the only specialty that will include any experience in medical malpractice. Not all great attorneys are board certified and not all board certified attorneys are great, but this is a good first question to ask.
2. How many cases of medical malpractice has the attorney handled in the past two years?
Not all attorneys that profess to handle personal injury cases actually have sufficient experience with medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice cases are a unique sub-specialty in personal injury. Even good attorneys that are Board Certified in Personal injury Trial Law may not routinely handle medical malpractice cases. An attorney that professes to handle medical malpractice cases should have handled several cases in the past two years. If not, it is a good indication that the attorney may not be as up to date as necessary for your case.
3. Can the attorney provide you with client referrals in medical malpractice cases that are recent?
A good attorney that is experienced in medical malpractice will quickly give you the names and numbers of clients that are willing to discuss how well the attorney did on their medical malpractice case. If not, this may be a good indicator that the attorney does not routinely handle malpractice cases, does not have a sufficient number of satisfied clients, or both.
4. Can the attorney guarantee that he or she will personally handle your case?
Texas law allows attorneys to refer cases to other attorneys in exchange for a referral fee. Unfortunately, the client will not always get to meet the attorney to whom the case is being referred to until after they have entered into a contract. Ask the attorney if he/she will personally be handling the case. If not, why not? If they case is being referred to someone else, then ask to meet the other attorney before you enter into a contract. This is an important decision and you have the right to know who will be handling your case, upfront.
5. Can I think about it?
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys understand that entering into a contract to handle a case is a serious decision. They will not pressure you to sign the contract immediately and will encourage you to think about it, read the contract, and discuss with your loved ones whether the attorney is right for your case. Questionable lawyers will urge you to enter into the contract immediately. Run from those attorneys.
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