We’ve created our list of key questions to ask a medical malpractice attorney. If you have inquiries specific to a medical error you experienced, contact our team of medical malpractice attorneys at Buckingham & Vega Law Firm’s Midland, TX law office.
Top 8 Questions To Ask a Lawyer During Your Medical Malpractice Consultation
If you haven’t already prepared a list of essential questions to ask a medical malpractice attorney, make sure you do so before your first initial consultation. To get the most out of your case evaluation at a medical malpractice law firm, write down the topics that will help you determine if the lawyer is right for you. Keep good notes, especially if you’re visiting multiple law firms.
Here are our top eight questions to ask a medical malpractice attorney:
Question #1: Do I Have a Case?
Before you further investigate your potential lawyer’s background and expertise, you’ll want to know if they think you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice is one of the most difficult types of personal injury cases to litigate successfully, and a lawyer should be forthright about the merits and disadvantages of your case from the first meeting.
Not every negative outcome of a medical procedure indicates that malpractice occurred. There are certain criteria that any medical malpractice case must meet before moving toward legal action. They are:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the medical provider, establishing that the provider owed you a duty of care.
- The medical provider violated this duty of care.
- This failure to uphold the duty of care caused your injuries.
- Your injuries resulted in quantifiable damages you are now suffering.
Your case will rest upon whether the health care provider in question deviated from the standard of care. In your meeting, the attorney should be clear about if and why you have a valid case, and how it meets the necessary criteria for a medical malpractice claim. If the lawyer indicates that your case will be easy to win—especially with limited knowledge of your case—you may want to reconsider partnering with them. The lawyer should be open and honest about the challenges the case presents and how they can be overcome.
Question #2: What Kinds of Medical Malpractice Cases Have You Handled?
There are a lot of good medical malpractice lawyers in Texas. Just because an attorney is skilled doesn’t mean they’re the right person for your case. Ask about the lawyer’s past cases and areas of expertise. Try to get a feel for the types of medical malpractice lawsuits they usually take and can win. Are these cases similar to your case?
Guiding a medical malpractice claim to a successful outcome requires both broad and concentrated medical knowledge. Some of the areas in which medical malpractice attorneys often specialize include:
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Gallbladder malpractice
- Diagnostic errors, including cancer misdiagnosis
- Dental malpractice
- Specialist malpractice (such as pediatrician malpractice or gastroenterologist malpractice)
- Pharmacy errors
Question #3: What Case Outcomes Have You Achieved for Past Clients?
Ask about the attorney’s case history. An attorney may have taken on many cases similar to yours, but still hasn’t been successful in achieving full and fair compensation for clients. Having the right experience, education, and background is important, but lawyers must also prove they have measured success in real-life medical malpractice cases.
When you ask about a lawyer’s performance in past cases, be specific about whether their cases went to trial. An attorney with courtroom experience is a highly valuable asset in a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the lawyer you’re meeting with has never successfully litigated a case in a courtroom setting, you may want to look elsewhere.
It’s also a good idea to find out if the attorney you’re interviewing has experience in the area of jurisdiction in which your case will be handled. For example, if the medical error that injured you occurred in a Midland hospital, ask if the attorney has tried cases in the Midland County court system. Having a history of successfully trying cases in the same court where your case will be tried (should it go to trial) is a great asset.
Finally, to learn more about how the attorney and their team interact with clients, you can look into the law firm’s testimonials from former clients.
Question #4: What Resources Will You Use To Build My Case?
Medical malpractice cases demand an extensive range of resources. Your attorney will need the backing of a strong legal team and the ability to devote the time your case deserves. In addition, resources like those listed below can mean the difference between winning and losing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Ask your potential attorney if they have:
- Relationships with expert witnesses, medical investigators, and physicians who can attest to the fact that your doctor deviated from the standard of care
- Strong professional connections in the hospital or other medical setting where you were injured
- A substantial base of knowledge in the medical field related to your case
- The ability to read and accurately interpret notes made by treating physicians, medical imaging, laboratory and other test results, and medical charts
- A deep understanding of how hospital insurance policies function
- The ability to interview witnesses, find the right medical experts, and take statements to support your claim
- Aggressive negotiation skills to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company
- The courtroom experience needed to take your case before a judge and jury, and win
Question #5: What Compensation Am I Eligible To Recover?
While a medical malpractice attorney won’t be able to give you an exact dollar amount at the first meeting, they should provide an idea of the type and rough amount of financial compensation you can expect to recover.
Based on the economic and noneconomic losses you suffered, the attorney should advise about whether you are qualified to recover damages such as:
- Hospital bills
- Expenses for a specialist, second opinion, and other doctor’s visits
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Mental health counseling costs
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Lost benefits
- Home and vehicle accommodations after permanent disability
- Prescription medication costs
- The cost of any prosthetic or other medical equipment you require
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral costs, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and loss of supporting income in a wrongful death case
Question #6: How Long Can I Expect My Case To Take?
Medical malpractice cases generally take a significant amount of time to reach a resolution. A medical malpractice attorney should offer a straightforward answer about the timeframe you can anticipate. They should also give you a breakdown of when certain actions need to happen, and any statutes of limitations that restrict the amount of time you have to pursue legal recourse. Consider it a red flag if a lawyer brushes this question aside or assures you that things will wrap up quickly.
Question #7: How Can I Reach You if I Have Questions During the Legal Process?
Asking this and similar questions can give you a feel for the attorney’s communication style. While some lawyers are attentive and communicative throughout the case, others are harder to reach. It’s not unheard of for a lawyer to pass questions off to assistants and associates to avoid direct client communications. If this is the way a lawyer manages their cases, it’s good for you to know this from the outset.
At Buckingham & Vega Law Firm, we live by the philosophy that you become part of our family when we take your case. We find that our cases are best built on a solid, meaningful attorney-client relationship. If you have questions, the lawyer in charge of your case will be available to answer them.
Question #8: What Are Your Attorney Fees?
Before you hire an attorney, you need to know their pay structure. Some medical malpractice lawyers use an hourly rate system. Others require an upfront flat fee. Will you need to pay the expenses for expert witnesses and other litigation costs out of pocket?
At Buckingham & Vega Law Firm, we follow a contingency fee model. That means that you pay no hourly or upfront costs. Our legal fees are taken out of your compensation award after we win your case. If we don’t win your case, we don’t get paid. We find this works well for our personal injury law firm. Discuss all these matters with your potential attorney before signing any papers or moving forward with a partnership.
Schedule a Free Meeting To Find the Right Medical Malpractice Attorney
We’d like to invite you to see if Buckingham & Vega Law Firm is the right medical malpractice law office for you. We provide completely free, no-obligation consultations to potential clients looking for the right fit. We think it’s important to have a face-to-face meeting to get to know each other. After your case evaluation, you are under no obligation to work with our law firm unless you believe we are the right attorneys to win you justice.
Schedule your appointment today. Bring your questions to ask a medical malpractice attorney, and we’ll be ready with our answers.