July 6, 2019

Five Reasons you Can’t Find a Medical Malpractice Attorney (and what to do about it)

Most medical malpractice victims get turned down by more than one attorney before finding one to take their case.

Here are five common reasons your case is being turned down (and what to do about it):

#1: You Waited Too Long to Call Us. While there are some exceptions, generally speaking you must file a medical malpractice case within one year of the malpractice. Prior to filing a medical malpractice
case, medical records must be obtained, a physician expert must be hired, and that expert must prepare an affidavit identifying the malpractice. If you contact us 30 days before the statute of limitations is going to expire, it is simply not feasible to evaluate and prepare your case in that amount of time. Other times, we have clients contact us many, many years after the treatment such that we cannot possibly file a case for them. So here’s what to do: If you think you are a victim of medical malpractice, contact us now. Don’t wait to the last minute. Don’t put it off. This is your life and your case. Don’t make a mistake by not looking out for yourself and investigating the case.

#2: You Can’t Tell the Attorney Why you Think there was Malpractice. There are a couple of harsh rules of medical malpractice. The first is that not every bad outcome is malpractice. The second is that if you cannot explain the malpractice case in 15 seconds or less, there is most likely a problem with your case. Granted, some clients do have good cases but don’t know enough about medicine to explain them. But many just don’t have the facts and are angry. Here’s what you can do: Don’t go to the attorney’s office and say, I don’t know what happened please review my case for me. Instead, talk to your doctors and ask them to explain what happened. Ask other doctors “off the record” if they think all care provided was correctly done. Ask a friend who may be a nurse or a doctor to review the records and give you a quick opinion. Then, instead of saying “I don’t know what happened” you can say “I was told blood thinners to stop
clotting should have been given after the surgery but weren’t, as a result blood clots and serious complications developed after the surgery.” A client with the first statement will likely be ignored by most attorneys. A client with the second statement will cause an attorney to listen carefully.

#3: You Don’t have the Medical Records. There are two versions of every medical malpractice case. One version is what the client remembers. The other version is what the medical records say. The medical records are generally more important because they give details often unknown to the client and they are created at the time of the events and not subject to a faded memory. If you don’t have the medical records
already on hand when you call us, there is really no point in meeting with you. We can have a polite conversation, but it will end with a request that you obtain your medical records for us and then schedule a return appointment. Here’s what to do: Call us and schedule an appointment. Prior to meeting with us, politely request a copy of your complete medical records (not just a few pages of discharge papers the hospital gave you) from every relevant provider. Expect to leave them with us for copying. Don’t forget to ask for copies of your actual MRI, CT or X-ray scans on CD as well. If you have these when we are able to meet and we will know you are a cooperative and serious potential client.

#4: You expect the Law Firm to Advance 100% of the Costs: The initial cost of having a medical malpractice case reviewed and prepared to file a complaint is high, often $5,000 to $10,000. As an attorney, if I advanced these costs for every potential client who called in, I’d quickly spend $300,000 or more—and find that most of the cases are not worth filing. We often ask clients if they will pay the initial costs of the review. Don’t be offended by this. We will tell them “if you don’t believe in your own case enough to spend that type of money, why would we pay it for you?” Here’s what you need to do: Come to the attorney’s office with a financial plan in mind. Say to yourself “if the attorney is interested, here’s how I can help pay for the initial review.” This might be family borrowing, savings, credit cards, your income tax refund or other sources. Sometimes there truly is a financial barrier and those cases are unfortunate, but most people have means of paying these costs if they put their nose to the grindstone.

#5: You are calling the “big advertiser firms” first: Big advertiser firms are great…if your case is an easy rear-ender auto accident that they don’t have to put much work into. If you have a case that will require more attention and skill which may be disputed on liability, most of the big advertiser firms won’t touch it. They want a quick settlement and never want to take cases to trial. Here’s what you need to do: Look for smaller trial law firms who take a few larger cases and work them properly as opposed to these larger firms. Ask the attorney how many medical malpractice cases they’ve handled. Ask the attorney if they are willing to go to trial with you in the case. Our firm routinely handles these matters.

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