What’s a Medical Lawyer? What Do They Do?
Medical lawyers are attorneys who have become experts in medical law. They understand the standard of care doctors must uphold, and better than other attorneys. It’s their job. And most importantly, they know how to prove negligence and win cases. That’s what good medical lawyers do – they help people get compensated in medical malpractice cases.
Note: Medical lawyers are commonly called medical malpractice lawyers or medical malpractice attorneys.
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit, it’s important to choose a lawyer who specializes in your type of case. A single lawyer can’t know everything there is to know about every specialty of law. That’s why it’s important to hire a medical lawyer who’s spent much of their career focusing specifically on medical malpractice cases. That way, you’ll have access to more expertise and resources. And also, you’ll have a better chance of winning.
Just think about it. You wouldn’t see a cardiologist for a broken ankle, would you? Same goes for law.
A medical lawyer has a job that’s different from other lawyers. Of course they’re skilled in legality but also the medical field. Specifically pertaining to what’s normal procedure, aka “the standard of care” for the nurses and doctors treating you. Let’s hone in on the details. Follow along for more information!
How Can A Medical Lawyer Help Me?
A medical injury may happen due to hospital error or malpractice. Willie King went in for surgery to amputate his leg but the surgeon removed the wrong leg. Talk about a surgical error! This case got a lot of attention for obvious reasons. The medical lawyer who took on the case clearly had a fairly easy job, but not all cases are that clear cut. One of the first things a medical lawyer does when beginning a case is gathering evidence.
This is arguably the most important part of a medical lawyer’s job. If a patient was injured through medical error but you can’t show that to a jury, you don’t have a case. First, your lawyer will get all of the details they can from you. (Check out our tips for preparing for your first meeting.) They’ll also talk to any witnesses who can help support those details. They’ll also try to get the defendant’s story. Though if the defendant is working with a lawyer, they probably won’t say much.
Your lawyer will look at all of the medical records related to the incident. They’ll talk to medical experts to get their opinion on what happened. States sometimes have different requirements for who can be an expert witness. Usually the medical witness needs to be very specialized for the individual circumstance.
For example, if the injury was a result of heart surgery, you’ll probably need the opinion of a cardiovascular specialist. This qualified witness will help create a strong case. A specialized lawyer will have a network of resources to pull from.
Assisting The Client
While gathering evidence, the medical lawyer will share this information with the client. This will give the client more information about their injury. Your lawyer will also explain your rights and the standard of care required by doctors and nurses.
A medical lawyer will also help prepare their client to speak in court, should it come to that. They give their client as much information as they can. This support lets them speak their case clearly and effectively.
Negotiating a Settlement
Not all lawsuits make it to court. More often that not, they’ll end in a settlement. Why? Because it tends to be more straightforward and is a much quicker process. But of course there are a lot of factors that can contribute to how long a lawsuit will take. Many defendants prefer to settle outside of court. This is the quicker and usually less expensive way to handle a lawsuit. And a lot of times they can avoid disclosure because of it.
If the two parties can negotiate a settlement, the victim will get a payout much faster. Many people have a large number of bills they’re trying to juggle after the injury. They’re most likely dealing with mounting medical bills. Not to mention possible loss of wages. Because of this, they may desire quicker compensation. A case that settles in court will usually get more money, but it may take years and years to get paid.
Representation In Court
In court, medical lawyers are the ones who do most of the talking (thank goodness, right?). They know the language and will be able to talk about the case comfortably and with clarity. They present the gathered evidence and argue why you deserve compensation. The judge will rule out any evidence that can’t be used, and the jury will reach a verdict.
The payment will come in either a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement. A lump-sum is paid all at once upfront. A structured payment is spread out over years. This helps to ensure that a child with a lifelong disability, for example, has money when they grow up to continue caring for their condition.
A lump-sum payment is the least complicated and usually the popular choice. You can set up funds from that money to pay for the child’s future medical expenses. Some people who received a structured payment will even sell that for a lump sum payment at some point.
Why You Should Hire a Medical Lawyer
Remember comedian Dana Carvey? He’s one of the stars in Wayne’s World, if his name didn’t ring a bell. Well, many years back he was to have bypass surgery because of a clogged heart artery. But get this – the surgeon bypassed the wrong artery. Dana could have easily had another heart attack and died. The discovery of this error led to an emergency surgery to repair the damage from the first surgery. It took Dana two years to recover from this terrible medical error.
Thankfully Dana made a recovery, but not all patients are so lucky. With some medical injuries the patient never fully recovers. They will need long-term medical care, medications, therapies, and assistive equipment. All these medical costs add up and completely change the quality of life someone can afford. Displaying current and future medical costs is a medical lawyer’s job.
They need to gather as much information about the injury. They then educate the jury on how this condition will need to be cared for throughout the person’s life. Without filing a lawsuit, these costs are entirely the patient’s responsibility. The medical lawyer is working to prove that someone must be held responsible for the injury. And therefore, the guilty party is responsible for the cost.
It’s easier to be a big fish in a little pond. When a lawyer only works on medical malpractice cases it becomes easier to perfect their craft. A general lawyer will have to stretch their knowledge across different niches. Because of this you’ll want a medical lawyer for your malpractice case. And not only that – but a medical lawyer that has previously worked on cases like yours. So say your child has cerebral palsy – find yourself a lawyer who specializes in cerebral palsy.
Paying Your Lawyer
Most malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that unless you win the case, you don’t have to pay the law firm. This helps people feel more comfortable filing. It eliminates the risk of losing money without gaining any compensation.
When you hire an attorney you’ll sign an agreement of how payment will be established should you win the case. This will include any money the medical lawyer spent on putting together the case. Followed by a percentage of the payout as their legal fees.
Get The Help You Need
So, what do medical lawyers do? Well as you can see, they help people get compensation after tragic medical injuries. This compensation allows them to get the medical care that they need. The injured patient deserves to maintain the best quality of life that they can. Medical lawyers spend their career becoming experts in medical law. They know the standard of care for doctors and how to prove negligence.
If you or a family member have been injured due to medical malpractice or error, reach out to us. It’s important to hold people accountable for your injury. You deserve to give your family the best quality of life possible. The compensation from a medical malpractice case can help with this. You don’t need to be sure that you have a strong case before speaking to an attorney. Contact us today.