Posted by Bill Sandweg on 27 March 2023.
If you are like most people who believe they have been the victim of medical malpractice, you are probably going to go on the internet and type in “medical malpractice lawyer” or something similar. When the results pop up, you will find a lot of attorneys who want to be your lawyer. Again, if you are like most people, you will call someone who is listed on the first page of the search results. Unless you actually check the qualifications of the attorney before you call, you may get a rude surprise on down the road.
Any lawyer can claim to be a medical malpractice lawyer. Any lawyer can pay to get their name on the first page of the search results. These lawyers count on the public being too lazy to look into their credentials or too ignorant to understand what makes a good medical malpractice lawyer. Either way, these inexperienced lawyers end up with clients they have little or no idea how to successfully assist.
Many of these inexperienced lawyers think they can just send a demand letter to the doctor or hospital and settle the case without having to file a complaint or go to trial. They are sadly mistaken. Doctors and hospitals win 85-90% of the cases that get tried in Arizona. Juries are reluctant to believe that doctors and hospitals kill and injure people and often find in their favor, even when the evidence against the defendants is strong. Unlike some other areas of personal injury practice, medical malpractice cases require an attorney to show that she or he has the evidence necessary to win the case before there will be a settlement offer. Medical malpractice defense lawyers are among the most skilled and experienced in the state. That is why the malpractice insurance companies hire them. They run right over inexperienced lawyers, who don’t know what they are doing.
Medical malpractice cases are complex and expensive. A successful malpractice case always involves one or more expert witnesses, who testify on issues such as standard of care, causation, and damages. These experts charge by the hour and their rates usually begin around $600 per hour. As in so much of life, not all expert witnesses are created equal. If your medical malpractice lawyer does not know how to find a well-qualified expert witness for each of the important issues in your case, you will lose. If your medical malpractice lawyer cannot afford to hire the necessary experts, you will lose.
Medical malpractice cases are complex because medicine is complex. If your medical malpractice attorney does not understand medical terminology or medicine in general, or the specific medical issues in your case, you will lose. If your medical malpractice attorney cannot find, read, and understand the latest medical literature needed to support your case, you will lose. If your medical malpractice attorney cannot successfully cross-examine the defendant doctor and the doctor’s expert witnesses, you will lose.
If you have been following along, by now it should be clear that there are lots of ways in which an inexperienced lawyer can lose even a good medical malpractice case. If you think you have a good medical malpractice case, you owe it to yourself to make sure you select an attorney who can give you the best chance of winning that case and getting some compensation for your injury. Look at the qualifications of the attorneys who want to be your lawyer. How long have they been out of law school? How many cases have they tried? Are they recognized as skilled trial attorneys by organizations such as the American College of Trial Lawyers, or the American Board of Trial Advocates, or Best Lawyers, or SuperLawyers? Are they certified by the State Bar of Arizona as specialists in personal injury and wrongful death law?
Don’t give away your good medical malpractice case to someone who is on the first page of the search results solely because they paid for the privilege. Don’t give your good case to someone who advertises on the side of a bus. Do your homework and evaluate the credentials of the lawyers you are considering. In a tough, tough area, this will give you the best chance of being successful.