Do I need a lawyer at all?
If you, your family member or somebody close to you have been injured in any sort of accident or suffered pain resulting from doctors’ negligence, you are facing a lot of problems. I am talking here about medical bills, prescription medicines and lost income because you have had to stay in hospital or home to recover. Now, an insurance company is ready to settle, but their business is about profit and not about “let’s fairly compensate that poor dude”. Do you even know how much is fair? Or how much is fair to ask?
But the example above is relatively easy. Now, imagine a newborn child that has been hurt badly during C-section delivery: a too deep cut damaged the baby. And a plastic surgeon shows up only when the wound gets infected already. All you can to talk to is an innocent nurse. Just imagine the anguish of the situation.
Do you think you can handle it on your own? Say, demand the compensation from a hospital? I doubt it… Now, I hope you realize already that you need a lawyer ASAP. But not just any lawyer. You need the one who… Who is friendly and understanding? Wrong.
You need an experienced attorney
Do not choose attorney if he or she is just friendly. This is not enough. Somebody from your circle may recommend a lawyer they have used before. The chances are the lawyer has helped your friends with something else. You need an attorney who has worked on a case with similar to yours circumstances. And has done it successfully, preferably not long ago.
You see, the legal system in the U.S. is the most complicated in the world. There are thousands of laws, rules and regulations. It is simply impossible for an attorney to specialize on a broad subject. Many lawyers never set foot in a courtroom for their whole career because they work in specific areas that are primarily consultative.And I am not even talking about “do not hire divorce lawyer for a personal injury case”. This is obvious, I hope. I am saying that even if the law firm, you’re considering to work with, calls itself “personal injury law office”, you need to check if they have experience with what you need. For example, a wrongful death award may range from $100,000 to millions of dollars. It all depends on law firm you hire, their expertize, experience and quality of investigation they provide for the case.
An “Internet way” to find the right attorney
Be prepared to make many phone calls. Your primary source of the information is Internet. Go on Google, search, for example, for “malpractice lawsuit” or “defective products”, you get the idea. You should search for an authority in particular area of personal injury law. This is somebody who is widely known for succeeding in lawsuits or providing valuable information related to accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death and other areas of tort law. Read what he or she writes. The best if the person has a blog where you can get much more information. That “authority attorney” may not live in your area, but all best lawyers know all other best lawyers. This is a “secret” I’m sharing with you. Then you simply contact that authority attorney by email or better call, briefly describe your problem and ask for recommendation. That’s all, it works.
Another good place look for a good lawyer is Martindale-Hubbell website that provides a hand-picked directory of attorneys and tons of easy-to-understand legal information.
I do not recommend Yellow Pages because it’s a paid advertising. You will see tons and tons seemingly suitable for you ads, but there is no way to sort out the hype.
A litmus test for the right lawyer
When you have completed the online search you have a short list of phone numbers of your local personal injury lawyers. Simply call for an appointment. When you do this describe you problem in just one sentence. For example, “I work for a chemical company ABC and was just diagnosed with skin cancer”, or “My child did not receive medical help in timely fashion while being in a hospital”. I hope you understand the idea.
Do not expect that the attorney will be readily available. The best lawyers are very busy, but you need the best, right? Just be patient.
Now it is time for the litmus test. As I’ve already said, you should select the lawyers for their expertise and experience in specific categories of cases. When you meet with you prospective attorney, he or she will know what do immediately. They won’t say something like “I will look into it,” or “I will think about it and call you back”, or “I will check the most recent court decisions.”
The best attorney for you will tell you on spot what documents are required, what investigation of your case circumstances will be done and how long it will take to get prepared to start the litigation.
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