Do I always have to have a lawyer in a medical malpractice claim or is it something I can handle myself?
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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While there are some legal matters that people can and do handle themselves on a regular basis (for example, simple wills and small claims court proceedings), a medical malpractice case is really best handled by an experienced attorney. A medical malpractice lawyer will know who to sue, when to sue, what legal arguments are the most beneficial for your case, what papers to file with the court and when to file them, how to handle court fees, how to gather evidence for your case, the strength of your case, your chances for settlement, and how to bring your case to trial should it get to that point. A seasoned lawyer will also know how to handle the attorneys for whatever health care defendant you end up suing. Most importantly, your attorney will serve as your advocate.
One of the more important functions of an medical malpractice attorney is to help you evaluate your case right from the beginning. The attorney will review the facts of your case, apply the law, and give you an idea of the strength of your case and your chances of success, based on his or her experience. While you may feel you have been injured and want to sue as a matter of “principle”, it does not mean that you have a valid legal claim. The lawyer’s job is help you determine if the matter is worth your time, the legal costs, and the court fees.
A good medical malpractice attorney who is known among the medical malpractice insurers and insurance defense lawyers in your area will have a much greater chance of increasing your recovery. Do you know what your case is worth? (The doctor’s insurance company does and won’t tell you). The lawyer knows. The doctor’s medical malpractice insurer may offer you some settlement money, but it will be significantly less than what they would offer with a lawyer threatening to file a lawsuit.