Sadly, thousands of patients will be injured this year because of errors committed by medical providers. Institutions and licensed medical professionals have a legal and ethical duty to adhere to reasonable standards of care when treating patients. As a patient, you have the right to expect and receive competent treatment and care. When you suffer an injury because of negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and the responsibilities of a medical provider.
Patients Hurt by Medical Negligence, Errors and Mistakes Deserve to Be Compensated for Injuries
All medical providers and healthcare institutions owe a duty of care to their patients. Medical providers include, but are not limited to, family doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, specialists, surgeons, nurses, and technicians. If a medical provider fails to meet the healthcare industry’s acceptable standard of care because of negligence or a deliberate act, the result may constitute a breach of that duty.
Under the medical malpractice laws of Texas, the provider may be held liable for the pain, suffering, and injuries caused by the breach of the medical professional’s duty of care. When you trust a healthcare professional to provide the care you need when you are injured or sick, it can be difficult to know what to do when the person you trusted causes an injury.
Hiring a Texas Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Protect Your Legal Rights
Unfortunately, most people are unprepared for incidents of medical malpractice. Most individuals and families are overwhelmed when a medical provider’s negligence causes severe injury or death. The psychological, emotional, physical, and financial consequences and hardships can cause people to delay contacting an attorney.
However, the right to file a claim or take legal action is not an indefinite right. You must act before the deadline set by the Texas statute of limitations or lose your right to file a medical malpractice claim. Therefore, one of the first steps for a victim of medical malpractice is to consult with a lawyer to protect the victim’s right to seek compensation for losses, but how do you know which Houston medical malpractice attorney to hire.
Searching for a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Texas
Step One: Hire a Law Firm with a Full-Time Doctor on Staff
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a medical malpractice law firm is whether the law firm employs full-time medical professionals on staff. You have a better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries when trained medical professionals and highly competent medical malpractice lawyers work together on a full-time basis to investigate your claim. In addition, when you hire a law firm that employs a full-time doctor and nurse on staff, you receive the expertise of trained medical professionals and seasoned medical malpractice lawyers for one fee.
In many cases, a critical piece of evidence could be missed because an attorney does not have medical training. Without medical training, it can sometimes be difficult to recognize preventable errors and discrepancies in care or treatment as medical malpractice. However, to recover compensation for a medical malpractice claim, you must have evidence that demonstrates the provider’s negligence or mistake was the cause of the patient’s death, injury, or illness. Therefore, a doctor is needed to review each piece of evidence diligently and meticulously in a case to determine if the provider breached the standard of care. The doctor can then assist the attorney in gathering the evidence required to prove the provider committed medical malpractice.
Step Two: Understand the Qualities You Should Look for and What to Avoid When Searching for a Medical Malpractice Law Firm in Texas
When you search for a Houston medical malpractice lawyer, it is important to understand the qualities of a competent, skilled, and highly-trained attorney.
Qualities that you desire in an attorney include:
- Uses Plain English — An ability to explain complex legal theories and processes in easy-to-understand terms.
- Trustworthiness — You want an attorney who displays honesty when discussing your legal options. You need an attorney who provides realistic expectations instead of promises of high-dollar verdicts and settlements.
- Access — Ability to contact the attorney directly with questions and concerns instead of being passed off to other staff members on a consistent basis.
- Positive Communication Skills —You need to have a good rapport with your attorney because you will be working very closely with this person to hold a negligent doctor or other provider accountable for his or her actions.
It is also helpful to understand the traits and characteristics to avoid when hiring an attorney. Some of the warning signs that you should watch for that may indicate you may not receive personalized, dedicated representation include:
- Offers unrealistic guarantees of the outcome in your case;
- Requires an upfront retainer fee;
- Fails to follow-up when you call or email with additional questions;
- Ignores your questions or gives vague answers using legalese; and,
- Does not remember the details of your case when you have a second meeting with the attorney to discuss retaining the law firm.
Step Three: Interview the Attorneys — You are Hiring a Law Firm to Work for You
The law firm that you retain works for you. Therefore, you should interview the law firm and the attorney just as you would any other person you wanted to hire to perform a job. Your interview should cover important factors, including:
- Experience — Search for medical malpractice attorneys who have decades of experience handling these types of personal injury cases.
- References — Do not be shy about asking for references.
- Reasonable Fees — Compare the fees of several firms but remember that hiring an attorney based on the lowest fee may result in a less than acceptable outcome in your case.
- Practice Area — Search for a law firm that focuses its practice on medical malpractice instead of all areas of personal injury law.
- Reputation — Research the law firm and each of the attorneys online.
- Resources — Ask about the law firm’s resources. Experienced medical malpractice firms have developed a network of experts and resources the attorneys can rely upon to assist with cases. Law firms with a full-time MD and nurse on staff are focused on proving medical negligence. They are extremely serious about pursuing medical malpractice claims because they have hired the full-time personnel necessary to investigate claims of medical malpractice fully and completely.
- Success — Ask about past medical malpractice settlements and jury verdicts. While the results in other cases do not guarantee a positive result in your case, a proven successful track record is a must when hiring a Houston medical malpractice law firm.
Trust Your Instincts!
In the end, trust your feelings about an attorney. While you should be diligent in researching and interviewing a medical malpractice attorney, you must also feel comfortable and at ease with the person. It is okay to trust your feelings when searching for a medical malpractice law firm to represent you as you seek justice from the medical provider who caused your injury.