Developing a plan before choosing a medical negligence lawyer is important. Hiring an attorney is a daunting task, but it can be made easier after acquiring some basic knowledge about how attorneys work and about the world in which they make a living. Like almost any other process that involves hiring a person to provide a service, there are some things to look for and some things to definitely stay away from. Hopefully, retaining an attorney is something a Christian will never have to do in their lifetime. But, if they ever do find themselves in need of a legal expert, finding the right one could be the difference between success and failure. The legal system with its lawsuits, judgments, plaintiffs, defendants, and numerous other elements is intimidating and difficult enough to navigate through. For some people, just being in a courtroom as an observer can be a sobering experience. Toss in the drama and suffering that may have occurred as the result of an injury caused by medical malpractice and it can be nothing short of frightening. If a person is facing this legal giant, it might serve them well to remember what the Bible says: God didn't give people a spirit of timidity or weakness. Pray, have faith, and develop a plan based on sound research and then move forward.
Knowing where to begin looking for a good medical negligence lawyer is an important first step. This isn't as easy as it may sound. Some legal experts suggest that people should not start their search by contacting an attorney that advertises on television or in the phone book. Catchy, well designed ads don't necessarily mean the attorney is a competent medical negligence lawyer. Hiring an attorney because of a snappy jingle or photo equates more to impulse shopping than to making a sound business or financial decision. Question the priority or focus of television ads that promise huge cash settlements. Are these lawyers going to look out for their client's best interest or their bottom line? Obviously, receiving compensation to cover out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, lost income or profits, and pain and suffering resulting from the injury is important, but the main focus should be insuring the injured party and his or her family is taken care of, not made filthy rich.
This isn't to say that a good medical negligence lawyer can't be found in the phone book or on television. Most attorneys have numbers listed in the phone book, but those aren't the best places to start looking. Talk to other people first: family, friends, and coworkers. Maybe an acquaintance has already taken a trip through the legal system and can give valuable advice or tips on a specific attorney. Use the internet as well. Blogs might even offer some good information or leads on local attorneys. But, don't be afraid to look outside the immediate area for counsel. Perhaps the most important characteristic of a medical negligence lawyer is their courtroom presence. Most people have probably seen a movie or television show set in a courtroom. And one of the attorneys is overly aggressive, bullying, and rude while using strong-arm tactics. But another lawyer in the room is calmer, persuasive, logical, and presents intelligent arguments based on the facts of the case. Which one is going to impress the judge and jury more? The answer is found in the Bible. "A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife." (Proverbs 15:18)
On the other hand, don't hire a timid attorney either. After all, there may be a time when aggressiveness is needed. A medical negligence lawyer works for the client, and the relationship must always be kept on a professional level. If it ever appears that the attorney is not acting in the client's best interest than it's time to seek out another one who will. Always get references before retaining a lawyer. Again, talk to people who might know how the attorney has done in the past. Like doctors, lawyers often have specialties: tax, bankruptcy, business, criminal, and medical law are just a few. Hire one who is qualified to handle medical cases. Don't hire a tax specialist to handle a malpractice case just because he claims he can win and is cheaper than other attorneys. There are any number of ways to find out if an attorney has handled similar cases in the past and how well he or she did on them. Word of mouth is a great start, but online law directories can also help locate appropriate representation, and they can even help with a credential check.
Basically, once retained, a medical negligence lawyer can be paid in one of two ways: hourly or by a percentage of the damages awarded to the client. Not surprisingly, determining the exact cause of a person's injury in a malpractice case can sometimes be complicated and time consuming because each case has its own unique elements. So, paying a medical negligence lawyer an hourly rate probably isn't going to be feasible. Therefore arrange contingency fees and the lawyer will take a percentage of any settlement. Legal professionals feel that working on a contingency system is good motivation and incentive for the attorney to work hard at winning the case because if he or she loses the case they don't get paid. If an attorney won't make a contingency agreement and insists on being paid an hourly rate, they may be implying that the case isn't winnable, but they will take it any way just to get a paycheck.
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