Posted by Bill Sandweg on 23 March 2016.
Let’s suppose you are unfortunate enough to have a good medical malpractice case. I say unfortunate because to have a good medical malpractice case you or a loved one must have been terribly and permanently injured. I will save for another day the factors experienced medical malpractice attorneys use to determine what cases they can take and what cases they must respectfully decline. But if you have a good case, the most important thing is to choose the right lawyer. I am not going to sit here and tell you that there is only one medical malpractice attorney for you. It is not like that. The Phoenix area is blessed with at least 20 outstanding, experienced lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice cases. Any one of them would do a wonderful job for you. So what are the indicators of an outstanding medical malpractice lawyer and how do you find him or her?
Obviously, if you are reading this post, you know how to use the internet and its search tools to find what you are looking for. The internet is by far the best place to find experienced, qualified medical malpractice attorneys. Personal recommendations are chancy unless, upon review, you find that the recommended person is highly qualified. Don’t rely on personal recommendations alone.
Go to Google and type in “Medical Malpractice Lawyer” and the nearest large city. Arizona’s best medical malpractice lawyers are concentrated in the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas. Once you have a few names, visit their web sites. Here are some things you should look for. Most outstanding medical malpractice lawyers will have been recognized for their outstanding work. The American College of Trial Lawyers is perhaps the premier invitation only trial lawyer group in the United States and Canada. Any member of the College is likely to be an outstanding trial lawyer and to have demonstrated extremely high ethics. The International Academy of Trial Lawyers is another highly respected invitation only group. Further down the list are the American Board of Trial Advocates, Best Lawyers in America, SuperLawyers and Arizona’s Finest Lawyers. Recognition by these groups is important and meaningful but not as hard to earn as an invitation to the College or the International Academy. Any Arizona medical malpractice lawyer you are considering should also be certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death.
After you have identified lawyers who meet one or more of the qualifications described above, and hopefully more than one of the qualifications, you are ready for the next step. Just because a lawyer or law firm claims that it does medical malpractice doesn’t necessarily make it so. I can look down the first page of the Google results for medical malpractice lawyers and see firms that I know do not have heavy malpractice hitters on their staff. You need to ask about the lawyer’s experience trying medical malpractice cases. You need to ask about how many malpractice cases he or she has handled over the last five or ten years. Medical malpractice cases require a high level of knowledge about the anatomy and the practice of medicine. They require someone who knows how to both find and use expert witnesses. They require a lawyer with the financial resources to advance the large costs associated with a significant medical malpractice case. The costs will rarely be less than $50,000.00 and often exceed $100,000.00. If your attorney cannot afford to advance those costs, he or she may have to scrimp on case preparation or try to settle your case on the cheap.
Usually in a disparaging way, lawyers are sometimes compared to sharks. In some respects, however, the comparison is an apt one. The medical malpractice defense attorneys in Arizona are some of the best trial lawyers around. That is why they get hired by the insurance companies to defend these cases in which verdicts may easily exceed $1M. The insurance companies don’t like to lose. Like sharks, these defense lawyers can tell if your lawyer does not know his or her stuff. Like sharks, they will circle and chew up an unprepared lawyer or an unskilled one or an inexperienced one.
When you call a malpractice firm, remember that you are interviewing for someone to accept your representation. It is your case and you deserve the best representation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about experience and even to ask for references. A highly qualified malpractice attorney has nothing to hide and will be happy to answer your questions. Good luck. You will need it.