Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider strays away from recognized standards of practice, taking or failing to take actions of care that a prudent medical provider wouldn’t or would take under similar circumstances. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.
The most common medical malpractice cases revolve around birth injuries, misdiagnosis, and prescription errors. In essence, medical malpractice is a serious problem that needs requires attention, left, right, and center.
As a patient, if you believe that a health practitioner was responsible for your injuries due to their negligence, errors, or omissions, one way to protect your rights is to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer. But medical malpractice cases are often complex, which means you’ll be better off with a proficient lawyer who specializes in these cases.
Below are the characteristics a lawyer should have to protect you from medical malpractice.
Expertise/Experience in Such Cases
A lawyer that has knowledge of the medical field is a strong asset when arguing a case on your behalf in court. Clifford A. Rieders from the Law Firm of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann says that while compassion is a critical factor when hiring a lawyer, you’re in better hands with an attorney who not only understands the law deeply; but one who can get you results.
Hiring an attorney with some understanding or background in biology means that they’ll be proficient and conversant with the medical jargon enough to come up with a strong defense for you. An experienced lawyer will have handled many cases over the years and managed to hone their skills in the courtroom, which will no doubt work in your favor. This will also cut down on the preparation time for research so as to focus more on strengthening the evidence at hand.
A Patient Listener
Ever heard of the term “listen like a lawyer”? Well, it may not be as popular as “listen like you mean it”, but there’s a good reason it exists. More often than not, cases of medical malpractices stem from the doctors not listening to their patients. This miscommunication results in unexpected results that could be avoided.
Similarly, a good lawyer is one who listens to their client’s side of the story so they can understand the main issue and develop a case that best addresses the interests of the victim. Listening skills are a vital factor to consider when hiring a lawyer for a medical malpractice case.
Confidence and Courage
Medical litigation is often a stressful and relentless process that can drive most people insane. That is why good lawyers have the resilience to go all the way in the trial, while maintaining confidence and courage in the face of very challenging odds. Usually, the defense is a well-funded organization that has very deep pockets and vast resources at their disposal.
However, a good lawyer will tell you your realistic chances of winning without overselling the situation at hand. This should give you the confidence that your lawyer knows exactly what they’re up against and is determined to get you compensated.
This is crucial when selecting a lawyer as it will help you gain confidence in their work. A good lawyer will keep their focus on the case, and not let distractions such as their fees throw him/her off the track. Your lawyer should be able to work on a contingency basis – not charging fees upfront – and also not require clients to pay if they don’t win the case or get any settlement. This flexibility will give you the confidence that your lawyer is a person of integrity.
Contacts of Helpful Expert “Witnesses”
Medicine is a very complex and confusing field that is full of jargon. It can be quite frustrating for the ordinary person, especially when you have to sue a physician for medical malpractice. In the courtroom, judges and juries are prone to listening to those they believe to be an authority in the field so as to try and get an understanding of the difficult concepts of the case.
On the bright side, a good lawyer will be able to acquire a good list of unbiased experts that can be contacted for assistance as friends of the court (Amicus curiae) whenever they’re needed. This is a valuable asset that comes with experience and/or good networking skills of your lawyer. Good and solid witness testimony in court can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Good Communication Skills
A good lawyer should have great oral articulation skills and also be able to put across their thoughts effectively. This is very critical when arguing your case in the courtroom, where legal and medical jargon needs to be explained efficiently for the judge and the jury to clearly understand. A lawyer’s communication skills have a great impact on how well they present their case.
To improve the chances of winning your case, your lawyer needs to be able to convince the judge and jury on his/her position by being persuasive, reasonable, and personable to all. Overly aggressive lawyers tend to damage interpersonal relationships, which would be counterproductive to the case.
Your lawyer should also be able to react appropriately to interview witnesses and also be able to address the judge and others in the courtroom with respect while carrying themselves as professionals. Their main interest should be to win the case for you, rather than building a name for themselves.
Good Decision-Making Skills
A good lawyer should be able to make good and sound decisions based on the information presented to them as well as their past experience. This entails finding patterns and situations that would be crucial in analyzing the case and making deductions that would enable them to develop an angle on how to pursue the case.
Good Analytical Skills
It goes without saying, that you cannot win a case in court with a half-baked presentation of facts. A good lawyer should also be able to dissect all information presented to them so they can accurately deduce facts and pieces that are relevant and helpful to the case.
In a nutshell, medical practice is the last thing anyone would want to experience. Pursuing compensation for one is even more painstaking. With a good personal injury lawyer, however, proving medical negligence and getting justice for your injuries and damages may not be that much of an uphill task. The above are just a few traits to look for in a lawyer for your medical malpractice case.