No one heads to a hospital expecting to be injured while there. On the contrary–you expect medical staff to heal and not harm you. But hospitals do sometimes harm patients. In fact, 250,000 negligent hospital deaths occur every year, according to a Johns Hopkins study. The good news? If a hospital makes a mistake in your treatment, there are legal actions you can take. But hiring a hospital negligence lawyer is key to getting justice.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of hiring hospital negligence lawyers. Below, you’ll find what to consider before, during, and after making a hire.
Before Hiring Hospital Negligence Lawyers
Before hiring attorneys for hospital negligence, it’s important to know what hospital negligence is. The broad definition is substandard care in a hospital that harms a patient. Substandard care means anything a doctor does or doesn’t do that deviates from what any knowledgeable practitioner would do in that situation.
Of course, that definition leaves a lot of wiggle room. In some cases, negligence can be black and white, and easy to spot. For example, a blatant misdiagnosis, sexual assault, or a medication error.
Or the negligence might sit in a muddy, gray area. For example, the hospital didn’t attend a patient on time, or didn’t train a staff member. These types of hospital malpractice are more difficult to prove.
Hospital negligence lawyers take on both cut-and-dry and “gray area” cases. Before you hire one, here are some things you may want to do first:
- File a complaint with your state’s medical licensing board. (Link to Texas Medical Board.)
- Make sure the statute of limitations hasn’t passed. This is the limit that state governments put on how long you have to file a malpractice claim. It varies by state & pursuing your case within the time-frame is vital.
More often than not, hospitals will refuse to admit guilt. So what’s the next step? You’ll need to get a lawyer to either get your hospital to settle, or take it to court.
What To Look For In Hospital Negligence Lawyers
Not just any lawyer will do. You need one with experience in medical malpractice. These attorneys are known as hospital negligence lawyers.
Here are 5 tips for finding the right lawyer for your needs:
- Qualifications: First of all, the law firm needs to be capable of handling hospital negligence cases. Search the lawyer’s website for information about cases they handle. Check whether the attorney is a member of local, state, and national bar associations. Are they in good standing? Do they have any awards or board certifications?
- Relevant Experience: Check whether the firm specializes in medical malpractice. Does the lawyer have experience with cases like yours?
- Trial Skills: If you believe your case may go to trial, you’ll need hospital negligence lawyers with trial skills. Ask what stance the firm will take against low settlement offers. Will they try your case in court if need be?
- Payment Practices: The firm you choose should offer a free initial consultation. They should also work on a contingency free basis. This means that they will only charge you if you receive compensation for your injuries. This is very important for hospital negligence cases, because taking on a large institution is a monumental task.
- Cold or Caring? This may not seem important, but it’s helpful to find a lawyer who cares about your case. Some firms are cold and impersonal, treating you like a number instead of a person. When you’re going through the devastation that medical negligence brings, compassion is what you deserve. It’s not an “added bonus”. Hire the firm that will treat you like family and work hard to get the compensation you need.
How To Hire Attorneys For Hospital Negligence
Once you know what to look for in hospital negligence lawyers, you can begin the hiring process.
Schedule An Initial Consultation
This is your first meeting with a lawyer. During this consultation, they will ask for details about your case. They will let you know whether you have grounds to sue. The lawyer will discuss the process of filing a claim, and what compensation you might expect. A reputable malpractice firm won’t charge you for an initial consultation.
Prepare Your Questions
Once you’ve scheduled a consultation, think of questions you want to ask. The initial consultation helps your attorney get to know you. But it’s also a chance for you to get to know them. Ask about their professional qualifications and certifications. Inquire about their past successes, and whether they have experience with cases like yours.
Choose Your Attorney
You may want to schedule consultations with several hospital negligence lawyers before choosing. When you find the right fit, hire as soon as possible. This can ensure evidence (like hospital records) proving your case isn’t lost or destroyed, and the statute of limitations doesn’t expire.
Ready to discuss your medical malpractice case with a qualified, compassionate lawyer in Houston? The hospital negligence lawyers at Hampton & King are ready to hear your case. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there’s no charge unless we win. Click here to schedule your initial consultation now.