7 Step Guide to Hiring the Best Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice lawyers specialize in representing victims of medical negligence or errors in lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, nurses, and other licensed healthcare providers. Medical negligence happens much more frequently than most people think and each year thousands of patients are harmed by mistakes or malpractice in a healthcare setting.

Our civil legal system gives victims of medical malpractice the ability to get financial compensation for their injuries by bringing a lawsuit against the doctor or healthcare provider. Medical malpractice attorneys handle these types of cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless you win the case.

There are a lot of medical malpractice lawyers out there. Hiring the best malpractice attorney for your case can be challenging. In this post, we provide a 7-step guide for how to effectively screen and hire the best medical malpractice lawyers.

1 – Look For Someone Who Has Handled Similar Cases

Although all medical malpractice cases share some common traits, each type or category of medical malpractice is somewhat unique in many ways. For example, different types of medical malpractice cases involve different areas of fields of medicine. A birth injury case will involve obstetrics, while a failure to diagnose case could involve radiology, general practice, etc.

Finding a lawyer who has handled your specific type of medical malpractice case before is therefore very important. Prior experience in your specific type of malpractice case means the lawyer will have at least some prior knowledge with the relevant field of medicine. He or she will also have a better understanding of the medical and legal issues that are likely to arise in your particular type of case.

2 – Identify the Type of Medical Malpractice

There are many different types or categories of medical malpractice. Determining what type of medical malpractice your case involves can help you in your search for the best possible malpractice attorney. Some medical malpractice lawyers have more experience handling certain subtypes of medical malpractice. Below are some of the main types of medical malpractice:

Failure to Diagnose Birth Injuries
Surgical Errors Hospital Malpractice
Medication Errors Nursing Home Negligence

 3 – Be Prepared for a Long Haul

Medical malpractice lawsuits are notoriously lengthy and complex, requiring significant patience and perseverance. The majority of these cases are resolved through settlements, with only about 10% actually making it to trial. However, reaching a settlement is not an immediate process. It often takes an extended period for the defendants to be ready to propose a settlement offer.
Typically, fair settlement offers are not presented at the outset. Instead, they are often delayed until just before the trial date. This is because defendants and their insurers may wait until the pressure of an impending trial forces them to offer a more reasonable settlement. This strategic delay can be frustrating for plaintiffs, who must endure a prolonged legal process before seeing any resolution.
The bottom line is that we cannot blow smoke and tell you to expect a quick malpractice settlement.  Anyone pursuing a medical malpractice claim should be prepared for a potentially drawn-out journey to achieve justice and compensation.

4 – Research Online

Everyone uses the internet to research things these days and the web is a the best available tool for researching medical malpractice lawyers in your area. Most people are very familiar with researching things online, but there are a few things to keep in mind when looking for attorneys online.

First, don’t just click on the first few links that appear at the top of the page when you search for “medical malpractice lawyer.” Why? Because the top 2 or even 3 results for that search are almost always going to be from lawyers who are paying google to appear at the top of the search results page. Scroll down and click on the non-paid search results instead.

Second, trying doing a more specific search. Don’t just search for “medical malpractice lawyers.” Instead, try making your search more specific and like “birth injury medical malpractice lawyer” or “hospital malpractice lawyer.” These search terms will get you better results.

5 – Read Client Reviews

If you find a lawyer or law firm that you are considering for your medical malpractice case, make sure you spend some time reading the reviews from prior clients. You probably won’t have time to read all the online client reviews, but read as many as you can. These can be an invaluable source of information about what to expect from the particular lawyer or law firm. Read some of the positive reviews as well as the negative reviews. See if you can find a consistent theme to the feedback.

6 – Narrow the Field

After compiling a list of potential medical malpractice attorneys, it’s time to narrow it down to a few top candidates. Here are some questions and areas of focus to help you refine your choices:

What is the attorney’s and their firm’s reputation?

When evaluating a medical malpractice lawyer or malpractice attorney, it is essential to consider both the reputation of the attorney and their firm. This can be gauged through various methods:

  1. Client Reviews: On one level, client reviews are worthless.  Most of it is just lawyers telling people to give them positive reviews.  For the negative reviews, it is most people who are angry that the malpractice lawyer would not look at their cases or some other unrelated beef.  But they still have value.  Block out the nonsense and look at the negative reviews that are not rants but actually tell you something about the victim’s experience with that law firm.  If the person sounds reasonable, see if there are red flags you should look out for.
  2. Case Results: Examine the attorney’s track record of case results. Every malpractice attorneys will showcase significant case wins on their websites. This can give you an indication of their experience and success rate in handling medical malpractice cases. But so many lawyers post victories at trial or the settlement table where they referred out the case and are claiming the victory as co-counsel.  Ask the hard question about that to verify that law firm as the lead malpractice law firm on those cases.
  3. Referrals: Ask for referrals from other attorneys or from people you trust who have had similar legal issues. Personal recommendations can often lead you to reputable malpractice attorneys who have a proven track record.  Ask other lawyers your are considering for opinions on their competition.  Most will be honest with you.

How much experience do they have with your case type?

It’s beneficial if the firm has extensive experience in your specific type of case, particularly if they have secured settlements or verdicts for similar injuries.

What is the cost?

Top medical malpractice attorneys typically don’t charge upfront fees, operating on a contingency-fee basis, meaning they get paid only if your case is successful. Most contingency fees are between 30-45% (and in some states, the fees are actually set by the bar).  This fee structure allows clients to pursue legal action without the burden of upfront costs, as the lawyer only gets paid if you win or settle the case.  If the lawyer wants to change you hourly, is that crazy?  It is not necessarily crazy… but in a medical malpractice cases it is a huge red flag.

It’s vital to have a clear and open discussion about fees and the fee structure with any attorney you are considering. Ask detailed questions to understand precisely how fees will be handled, including what percentage of the settlement or award the lawyer will take as their fee, and whether this percentage is calculated before or after other costs and expenses are deducted. Additionally, inquire about any potential costs that might arise during the case, such as court fees, expert witness fees, and other litigation expenses, and whether these costs will be deducted from your recovery or need to be paid upfront.

Where are they located? 

Our view on this is that if you have a small malpractice lawsuit, this is a good question. But if you have a lifechanging amount of money at issue like a catastrophic injury or wrongful death, you are better served forgetting location and trying to find the best malpractice attorney you can find to take your case. We would say that too many people search for the “best malpractice lawyer near me” rather than trying to find the absolute best malpractice lawyer available.

7 – Picking the Best Option

There is no single magic formula for selecting the best medical malpractice lawyer from a list of potential candidates. Often, the choice may be limited as some lawyers may not be interested in taking your case due to various factors, such as the complexity of the case, their current caseload, and most importantly, whether the lawyer think they will likely win and how much they will win. For some victims, the entire battle is finding a lawyer to take their case on a contingency.

However, if you do have multiple options, the best approach is to identify the criteria that are most important to you and use these to guide your decision.

Another important criterion is the lawyer’s communication style and how comfortable you feel during consultations. An effective attorney should be someone who listens to your concerns, answers your questions clearly, and keeps you informed throughout the legal process.

Ultimately, the right lawyer for you will be one who meets your specific needs and makes you feel confident in their ability to represent you. By thoroughly evaluating your options and considering what matters most to you, you can make an informed decision and choose the best medical malpractice lawyer for you and your case.

Understanding What Medical Malpractice Is

Before you start shopping for a medical malpractice lawyer, you should first figure out whether medical malpractice actually occurred. You don’t need to become an expert in the legal definition of medical malpractice (that’s what your hiring a lawyer for) but you at least need to understand the basic concept and see if it applies to your case to have an educated conversation with potential attorneys.

Medical malpractice laws differ from state-to-state, but the general definition of what constitutes medical malpractice is basically the same. To establish medical malpractice, a plaintiff must show three basic elements: (1) a doctor-patient relationship existed, (2) the doctor (or healthcare provider) negligently breached the standard of care in their course of treatment, and (3) the negligent breach of care caused you to suffer injuries and damages. A simpler way of stating this is that medical malpractice means that a doctor made mistake that caused a patient to suffer injury.

Contact Us About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

The national medical malpractice lawyers at Miller & Zois have recovered over $100 million in compensation for victims of medical negligence. Contact us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.



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