Life is a journey. With each stage of our lives, we’re faced with new situations we haven’t learned how to navigate.
When you find yourself in the middle of a legal situation, it can feel a bit scary. You probably know contacting a lawyer is a good idea, but what about the rest? You may ask yourself questions like, “Which lawyer do I choose? What do I say? What documents do I even bring?”
This may be new territory for you, but don’t worry. You shouldn’t be afraid to sue your doctor, and there’s no reason to worry about visiting the lawyer that’ll help you with that either. In this post, we’ll share some tips and tricks for communicating with your lawyer. A little bit of prep work can go a long ways and will definitely make for a stronger case.
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Your First Consultation With Your Malpractice Lawyer
Every day we engage in professional conversations. Just think about it. You may have a conversation with your doctor, dentist, accountant, coworker, or boss on any given day. Talking to a lawyer is a professional conversation, just like the rest.
Go into your consultation with confidence. There’s no reason to feel uncomfortable. This is a two way relationship, after all. Remember, you get to choose your lawyer, and they get to choose you. Pay attention to their experience level, body language, and personality. Are they paying attention to what you’re saying? Do they seem to care?
You want a medical malpractice lawyer who has your best interests in mind and will fight for you. If you get the feeling they’re not the right fit, move on. It’s OKAY to choose someone else.
Provide Every Detail
One of the most important ways you can help both your lawyer and yourself is to always be honest. We’ll harp more on that later…but it’s important to share anything and everything that pertains to your case. Try to explain the events in chronological order. Also, try to make things as easy as possible to understand.
Tip: Jot down your thoughts and questions in a notebook, and bring this to your appointment. This can help you keep your focus and not forget anything important.
Talking about a medical mistake or negligence can bring on a lot of different emotions. Feelings such as sadness, anger, and confusion are normal. A good lawyer knows and understands this, and will treat you with the respect you deserve.
No question is a bad one, so don’t be afraid to ask anything. Before you select your lawyer, be sure to ask them many questions about their experience and career. You need a professional who is capable. Ask questions such as:
►How many cases have you won?
►How long have you specialized in medical malpractice? (This is a big one! You don’t want just any lawyer, but one who actually specializes in medical malpractice.)
►What are your biggest settlements?
►Why are you passionate about this area of law?
Like any other service, you hire a lawyer expecting quality care. If your lawyer isn’t patient and understanding, you might consider hiring someone else.
Paying Your Lawyer
Medical cases may seem expensive, but the good news is that most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you shouldn’t owe any money unless your lawyer wins the case. Good news! But don’t forget to nail down the specifics. You’ll want to know and understand each and every expense you may be responsible for. You’ll likely owe the firm a percentage of your winnings, and will need to reimburse any litigation fees.
Signing paperwork often means you’re committing to a firm so before you sign, make sure you feel confident and comfortable.
Assembling Relevant Documents
Bringing useful paperwork and records to your appointment is really important. Without these documents, you’re likely wasting your lawyer’s time as well as your own. We recommend bringing the following:
► X-Rays and other diagnostic images
► Photographs of your condition
► Medical bills
► Insurance information
► Pay stubs
► Any relevant e-mails, letters, voicemails, or text messages
Gathering pertinent information will not only save your lawyer a lot of time, it will also give them a better understanding of how this medical error has affected your life. Medical malpractice can harm so many different areas of your life, so it’s important your lawyer has all documents to proof how much suffering you’ve experienced.
Honesty Is Key
Being honest is about more than just telling the truth, it’s about sharing everything and not holding anything back. Remember, your lawyer is here to help you and relies heavily on your transparency. Withholding any information can put your case at serious risk. A last-minute surprise in trial can be disastrous. It’s important that your lawyer knows every detail, so they can be as prepared as possible.
A good rule of thumb: It’s better to share too much rather than too little.
We hope this article was helpful and banished any fears you may have had about pursuing a case. Talking to a lawyer is like talking to any other professional and once you find the right lawyer you’ll feel at ease. If you have any questions or are dealing with a medical malpractice mistake, please reach out to our office.