Medical Malpractice: 10 Reasons Why You Should Call A Lawyer
There's a commercial for a mens clothing store in New York that says "An informed consumer is our best customer." This is true for people who have potential medical malpractice and injury cases. From the moment the phone rings until we've finished their case, the most important aspect of my job is to inform you, the client, whether you have the basis to bring a lawsuit, what your chances for obtaining money are, and to give you the best legal advice possible.
Without good legal advice, your ability to make informed choices are limited. That's why you need as much information as possible, and as soon as possible. You don't want to be told that the time to bring your lawsuit has lapsed, which leads me to the next topic:
2. LEARN WHAT YOUR TIME LIMIT IS TO START A LAWSUIT
You must know how much time you have to bring a claim and/or a lawsuit. There are many different time limits in New York, depending on the type of case you have. In a car accident case you generally have three years from the date of the accident in which to start a lawsuit. However, you only have 30 days to file a claim with your insurance company if you want them to pay for your medical bills.
There are many different exceptions to the time limits in New York. For example, if you were treated in a City Hospital such as Coney Island Hospital or Jacobi Hospital and you feel a doctor or nurse treated you improperly that resulted in injury, you'd have only 90 days to file a claim against them. Then you'd have only one year and 90 days from the date of the malpractice within which to start a lawsuit. BUT WAIT! You can't start your lawsuit until after you've filed a claim against the agency that 'owns' the hospital. See...it gets complicated. That's why it's so important to learn about the time limits you have. YOU MUST BECOME FULL INFORMED.
If you wait too long to seek legal advice, you might not be able to start a lawsuit because your time has lapsed. Find out now, then make your decision about whether you want to proceed with a lawsuit.
3. MEET WITH THE ATTORNEY TO SEE IF YOU'RE COMFORTABLE WITH HIM OR HER
Not every attorney will fit every client. It's like a first date. Some people you'll feel comfortable with, and others you won't. You won't know until you actually meet with the lawyer. Look at the surroundings. Look at how organized the lawyer is. Is the lawyer a professional. Does he or she appear confident in their abilities? Is the lawyer explaining and answering your questions, or is he or she trying to sell you on how wonderful he is? Use your common sense when deciding whether this lawyer is for you.
If you're unsure, tell the lawyer honestly that you're not sure whether you're going to choose him, and need to speak to other attorneys before you make a decision. Being open and honest with your lawyer is extremely important. Most lawyers will understand your reluctance to immediately sign up. Some will pressure you to sign a retainer before you leave the office. Remember, this is YOUR CASE. You must feel right with whichever lawyer you choose.
4. EVALUATE THE LAW FIRM
Does the lawyer have support staff to handle any questions or issues if your lawyer is busy? Does he have partners? Is he a solo practitioner, or is this a large law firm? Is the lawyer you meet with the one who will be with you every step of the way? Or will your case be assigned to different lawyers as it makes its' way through the legal system?
If you have questions about the status of your case will the lawyer you meet with call you back, or will you get a call from some paralegal you've never met before? When you call the office will you have to give them a file number for them to know who you are and what's going on with your case, or will the attorney have these facts at his fingertips?
Answers to these questions will help you decide if this lawyer and this law firm are the right match for you.
5. DOES THE LAWYER HAVE FREE INFORMATION FOR YOU BEFORE YOU EVER WALK IN THE DOOR?
Before going to meet the lawyer, can you get information about lawsuits and his experience from any written materials like a brochure or his law firm website? Look to see what information they provide. Is the lawyer hesitant to talk to you on the phone? Are there any pamphlets or booklets the lawyer has written that he sends to prospective clients to give them information about their type of case?
Remember, becoming informed is the key to understanding your legal rights.
6. ELIMINATE SURPRISES- ASK ABOUT FEES
Most lawyers who handle medical malpractice and injury cases in New York do not charge any fee to meet with them or to investigate your case. If an attorney accepts your case, they will have you sign a retainer agreement which sets out in detail the terms of the fee arrangement. In injury cases, typically the attorney will receive 1/3 of the net fee (after expenses and disbursements have been re-paid). In a medical malpractice case, the lawyer will get a fee that is much less, and works on a sliding scale- as the client's share goes up, the lawyer's fee drops.
7. ASK ABOUT EXPERIENCE
In most medical malpractice cases, a lawyer's experience is the key to getting not just fair compensation but just compensation. You must ask not only how long the attorney has been in practice, but how long they've handled cases like yours, and whether they have handled cases similar to yours. Obviously past experience does not guarantee a future result. However, with past similar cases the attorney has the ability to properly advise you about what needs to be done to try and achieve the best result possible.
8. ASK ABOUT PREVIOUS CASES SIMILAR TO YOURS
(See #7 above)
What if your attorney has never handled a case like yours? Well- you can still stick with this attorney. I'm sure he can learn everything he needs to handle your type of case. But remember this- This is the only time you'll be able to bring a lawsuit for your injuries. Don't you think you might be better off with an attorney who has handled these types of cases for years and years? The choice, as always is yours. Make your decision after carefully thinking about the risks and benefits of chosing one lawyer over another.
9. ASK ANY ATTORNEY YOU MEET, WHO HE WOULD USE IF HE NEEDED A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER
If the lawyer you meet with is confident of his or her abilities, they should have no problem recommending another attorney for you to get another opinion. However, if they are hesitant, or refuse to give you another name of an attorney to consult with, I would personally questions why not? Obviously, they don't want to lose you as a prospective client. However, I have found that lawyers are totally upfront with clients and give them the information they ask for, more likely than not, the client will return to their office and ask them to be their lawyer.
10. YOU HAVE NO OBLIGATION WHEN YOU CALL AN ATTORNEY FOR INFORMATION IN NEW YORK.
Just because you meet with an attorney, without paying any fee, does not obligate you to sign up with or stay with that attorney. We hear so often in attorney advertising "There's no obligation!" What this means is that you have a choice. If you like the attorney and are confident of their abilities, great! If you don't, say "thank you for your time," and move on to the next attorney. You are under no obligation to stay.
Related Tags: money, doctor, compensation, medical malpractice, diagnosis, victim, doctor error, medical mistake
Attorney Oginski has been in practice for over 18 years as a trial lawyer practicing exclusively in the State of New York. Having his own law firm, he is able to provide the utmost in personalized, individualized attention to each and every client. In our office, a client is not a file number. Client's are always treated with the respect they deserve and expect from a professional. Mr. Oginski is always aware of every aspect of a client's case from start to finish.
Gerry represents injured people in injury cases and medical malpractice matters in Brooklyn, Queens, New York City, the Bronx, Staten Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. You can reach him at http://www.oginski-law.com, or 516-487-8207. All inquiries are free and totally confidential.Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
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