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Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:26 pm
by TomatoTomahto
I know that there are many practicing physicians on BH, and I know that malpractice attorneys are probably not your favorite people. There are also many attorneys on BH, but I don't recall anyone specializing in medical malpractice.

A relative asked me for help finding a malpractice attorney. He specifically said that he didn't want an ambulance chaser, but that he believes that he has a legitimate claim. From what I know of the case, I have to agree that it can be reasonably argued that he didn't receive appropriate care. The delay in admitting him has resulted in a significant reduction in what he can expect from life. He is a young adult. This is not a case of expecting perfection from a physician, or an exaggerated claim based on little direct effect on the quality of his life.

So, anyway, how does one find/select a malpractice attorney, other than Google or watching ads on daytime TV? This occurred in New Jersey.

I thank you in advance for not venting about malpractice insurance rates and our litigious society.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:01 pm
by PFInterest
TomatoTomahto wrote:I thank you in advance for not venting about malpractice insurance rates and our litigious society.
hold my :beer and watch this....

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:08 pm
by Rob5TCP
Best bet is refer all from a friend that is a lawyer (but not negligence).
There are several national firms, but that is hit or miss. If this is major, try to find
one that specializes in your type of case.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:23 pm
by 4nwestsaylng
Contact an old school, blue ribbon firm (there are always one or two at least)-they may not do medical liability cases (malpractice is a legal determination,not a classification of all cases, so I call it liability, from the defense side of course), but if they do estate law, corporate,business law, their senior partners will know who is respected and good in the area. Lots of general lawyers who will take the cases but don't have the experience. Avoid those national ads, sleazy, I respect an amoeba in the Everglades over them.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:24 pm
by staythecourse
I would think just like finding a good doctor word of mouth is best from other well respected lawyers (even if they are not in the same field).
If that is not an option maybe using superlawyers as a vetting start?

Just keep in mind medial malpractice like a lot of personal litigation is not solely to do with who is right or wrong. Since it is done on contingency basis and the cost are VERY high to try a malpractice case (time, paperwork, legal experts, fight not against the doctor's pockets but their multimillion dollar insurance company's pockets) they will not be interested unless they feel the have a VERY good shot at 1million+ verdict. If they take home 30% contingency even if they win at 1 million that only leaves 300k after YEARS of fighting a case and them footing the entire bill until the verdict. That is not much.

That is why many legitimate malpractice lawyers will only take obvious AND lucrative cases. Anything less then that they seem to defer to ambulance chasers.

Good luck.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:24 pm
by loveyourheart
Doctor here. I was having a good day until I read this post. I hope your relative is feeling better and gets well soon.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:31 pm
by 4nwestsaylng
staythecourse wrote:
Just keep in mind medial malpractice like a lot of personal litigation has nothing really to do with who is right or wrong. Since it is done on contingency basis and the cost are VERY high to try a malpractice case (time, paperwork, legal experts, fight not against the doctor's pockets but their multimillion dollar insurance company's pockets) they will not be interested unless they feel the have a VERY good shot at 1million+ verdict. If they take home 30% contingency even if they win at 1 million that only leaves 300k after YEARS of fighting a case and them footing the entire bill until the verdict. That is not much.

That is why many legitimate malpractice lawyers will only take obvious AND lucrative cases. Anything less then that they seem to defer to ambulance chasers.

Good luck.
Don't cry for malpractice lawyers. Fortunately, they do indeed screen cases, looking for the ones that have a chance of an award, and you can't blame them. They get lots of people coming in with copies of their medical records,all happy for the lawyer to take the case on a percentage, but if the case has little chance of an award, who is going to pay the lawyer costs?

Yes, that word "costs". For if they do take a good case with a multimillion dollar settlement, they take a large percentage of that as contingency, PLUS all the "costs" of the lawyers time (yes, he is paid for his time as "costs") and material (special expert witness fees, etc.). Not uncommon for the plaintiff to end up with less money than the contingency fee + costs.

Of course the judges are lawyers also, and if a jury determines a settlement that is "too low' to guarantee all the "costs" and contingency fee for the attorney, with enough left over for sometimes a lifetime of care for the victim, the judge may intervene and raise the award.

These lawyars, by law always get paid first. As do car mechanics before you get your keys back.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:46 pm
by Rupert
Even in fairly large cities, there are only going to be a few firms that can competently handle medmal cases. They are very expensive cases to try, and solo practitioners typically can't afford to take them. (Those ambulance chasers you mention are personal injury lawyers, not medmal lawyers. Think car accidents, not botched surgeries.). So you're looking for a firm. As a prior poster noted, just about any lawyer in any town is going to be able to tell you who those few medmal firms are. So if you've ever hired a lawyer for anything, then ask that lawyer for a referral.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:58 pm
by staythecourse
4nwestsaylng wrote:
staythecourse wrote:
Just keep in mind medial malpractice like a lot of personal litigation has nothing really to do with who is right or wrong. Since it is done on contingency basis and the cost are VERY high to try a malpractice case (time, paperwork, legal experts, fight not against the doctor's pockets but their multimillion dollar insurance company's pockets) they will not be interested unless they feel the have a VERY good shot at 1million+ verdict. If they take home 30% contingency even if they win at 1 million that only leaves 300k after YEARS of fighting a case and them footing the entire bill until the verdict. That is not much.

That is why many legitimate malpractice lawyers will only take obvious AND lucrative cases. Anything less then that they seem to defer to ambulance chasers.

Good luck.
Don't cry for malpractice lawyers. Fortunately, they do indeed screen cases, looking for the ones that have a chance of an award, and you can't blame them. They get lots of people coming in with copies of their medical records,all happy for the lawyer to take the case on a percentage, but if the case has little chance of an award, who is going to pay the lawyer costs?

Yes, that word "costs". For if they do take a good case with a multimillion dollar settlement, they take a large percentage of that as contingency, PLUS all the "costs" of the lawyers time (yes, he is paid for his time as "costs") and material (special expert witness fees, etc.). Not uncommon for the plaintiff to end up with less money than the contingency fee + costs.

Of course the judges are lawyers also, and if a jury determines a settlement that is "too low' to guarantee all the "costs" and contingency fee for the attorney, with enough left over for sometimes a lifetime of care for the victim, the judge may intervene and raise the award.

These lawyars, by law always get paid first. As do car mechanics before you get your keys back.
So, basically you just repeated what I said.

I've been sued (luckily dropped as I predicted), but was a great learning experience. Folks think it is like t.v., but in my experience it is more about accounting. As you mentioned they go through the numbers and see if they can make the profit they want and if not they so no and if yes they say yes. It is more of a business decision then what most folks think. It is not about fighting for "what's right" or "being an advocate for the little guy" as most think. That was my point that it doesn't end with if the plantiff has a case or not, but if the profit is there at the END of the case EVEN if they do win to make it worthwhile to pursue.

Good luck.

p.s. The biggest issue I have seen which hurts the malpractice lawyers is they usually employ nurses to see if a case has merits or not. No offense to nurses, but that is about as dumb of an idea as I have heard. If I was about to take on a case that will cost be 6 digits that may go to trial I would spend a little more upfront and hire some doctors in that field of questioned negligence to look over and see if there is real merit.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:06 pm
by loveyourheart
I want to apologize ahead of time if anyone interprets this as inappropriate in any way and I do want to show proper respect to the original poster who is a contributor and has invested a lot of time in this community and I thank you for that. I haven't posted much but I have been here for many years. I have an enormous amount of respect for this community and I think this is a wonderful group. Many here have probably changed my life in a wonderful way and taught me a great amount. I am grateful for that. I do appreciate the thoughtful way the post was composed. I don't want to get political and I don't want to get off topic but I would like to say one thing: I think that knowing that this site is absolutely loaded with a massive amount of doctors to come on here and ask a question like that is just at the least not very neighborly. I appreciate your contributions and feel lucky to be part of this wonderful community. Thank you.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:16 pm
by AZAttorney11
loveyourheart wrote:I think that knowing that this site is absolutely loaded with a massive amount of doctors to come on here and ask a question like that is just at the least not very neighborly.
Why? Physicians are held to certain standards (just like other professionals such as lawyers, CPAs, dentists, etc.) and if they breach their duty of care to a patient, and if that breach caused damages to the patient, that patient is entitled to recover for the physician's negligence. I'm not anti-doctor (I do not practice in the realm of torts) and I have two siblings that are physicians.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:18 pm
by mhalley
I think one thing is that the lay public just can't understand what a malpractice suit does to a doctor. They think it is just like filing an insurance claim, a "cost of doing business". Even my wife had a hard time understanding.
I also express my sympathy that something happened that caused the op to think a lawsuit is the only answer, and wish there was a better way for these matters to be resolved.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:19 pm
by AZAttorney11
OP,

Talk to a few attorneys that you trust and get their recommendations. I've always asked for referrals by phrasing my question something to the effect of, "If you or a family member had X happen, who would you hire and why?" This should get your nephew some decent names.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:24 pm
by AZAttorney11
mhalley wrote:I think one thing is that the lay public just can't understand what a malpractice suit does to a doctor. They think it is just like filing an insurance claim, a "cost of doing business". Even my wife had a hard time understanding.
I also express my sympathy that something happened that caused the op to think a lawsuit is the only answer, and wish there was a better way for these matters to be resolved.
I once made a referral to a very good PI attorney. Very long story short, a family of six lost their mother to an infection that she contracted at a hospital. The nurses and doctors misdiagnosed her condition (a few times) and she ended up dying due to something that was 100% treatable if it was diagnosed and treated properly. What's the answer to that? Some flowers and a card?

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:28 pm
by prudent
Please keep replies focused on the OP's question - how to find a medmal attorney.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:45 pm
by loveyourheart
Sorry, thank you

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:52 pm
by sambb
Good malpractice attorney is usually found by word of mouth.

To all of the MDs out there, thanks so much for everything you do to keep us healthy. You gave up the best years of your life and people may not appreciate you enough. You are the best.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:52 pm
by TheNightsToCome
AZAttorney11 wrote:
mhalley wrote:I think one thing is that the lay public just can't understand what a malpractice suit does to a doctor. They think it is just like filing an insurance claim, a "cost of doing business". Even my wife had a hard time understanding.
I also express my sympathy that something happened that caused the op to think a lawsuit is the only answer, and wish there was a better way for these matters to be resolved.
I once made a referral to a very good PI attorney. Very long story short, a family of six lost their mother to an infection that she contracted at a hospital. The nurses and doctors misdiagnosed her condition (a few times) and she ended up dying due to something that was 100% treatable if it was diagnosed and treated properly. What's the answer to that? Some flowers and a card?
In response to the OP's question, I suggest asking a trusted attorney for a referral.

In response to above: If a surgeon amputates the wrong leg, a malpractice suit is in order.

If a physician misses a diagnosis, there might be negligence or incompetence, but probably not. Babe Ruth was probably the greatest hitter in baseball history, but he didn't bat a 1.000. Warren Buffett may be the greatest investor in history, but he'll be the first to point out his own investing mistakes.

I am a physician and I contracted a life-threatening illness a number of years ago. A cardiologist made the wrong diagnosis and I might have died if I did not seek the opinion of another cardiologist who had greater experience with the diagnostic procedure at the root of the problem. I ultimately directed my own work-up and obtained the correct diagnosis.

I never thought of suing the first cardiologist. I think he did his best, but he made a mistake. No one is perfect. It's hard to accept that when the stakes are so high, but even the best physicians will make errors, just like Ruth or Buffett.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:37 pm
by TomatoTomahto
I usually don't start a thread unless I'm going to be able to read and respond. I was surprised today to be unable to do anything more than give a quick glance at the responses. I apologize, because the time you spent drafting a reply deserves a thoughtful reading, and I will circle back tomorrow.

I did want to address one comment, and perhaps a sentiment shared by others:
I think that knowing that this site is absolutely loaded with a massive amount of doctors to come on here and ask a question like that is just at the least not very neighborly.
I have many doctors in my extended family. I am certain that I am alive because of my doctors. More importantly, my wife would be in a wheelchair, or worse, if it weren't for doctors; the fact that she can run is because of her doctors. I appreciate the commenters that understand that I don't disrespect the profession in general, or even necessarily the particular doctor in question, but for sure I don't disrespect my "neighbors" on this site who are doctors (and lawyers).

Thanks and I will be back tomorrow.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:47 pm
by bsteiner
TomatoTomahto wrote:... how does one find/select a [medical] malpractice attorney, other than Google or watching ads on daytime TV? This occurred in New Jersey. ...
Ask other lawyers. They'll either know or be able to find someone appropriate. Don't use Google or television commercials.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:45 pm
by toofache32
TheNightsToCome wrote: I never thought of suing the first cardiologist. I think he did his best, but he made a mistake. No one is perfect. It's hard to accept that when the stakes are so high, but even the best physicians will make errors, just like Ruth or Buffett.
This is one of the main reasons I am no longer in-network with medical insurance. We docs are not allowed to make mistakes in the eyes of the public. Holding me to this standard doesn't come at a discount.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:26 am
by staythecourse
TomatoTomahto wrote:I usually don't start a thread unless I'm going to be able to read and respond. I was surprised today to be unable to do anything more than give a quick glance at the responses. I apologize, because the time you spent drafting a reply deserves a thoughtful reading, and I will circle back tomorrow.

I did want to address one comment, and perhaps a sentiment shared by others:
I think that knowing that this site is absolutely loaded with a massive amount of doctors to come on here and ask a question like that is just at the least not very neighborly.
I have many doctors in my extended family. I am certain that I am alive because of my doctors. More importantly, my wife would be in a wheelchair, or worse, if it weren't for doctors; the fact that she can run is because of her doctors. I appreciate the commenters that understand that I don't disrespect the profession in general, or even necessarily the particular doctor in question, but for sure I don't disrespect my "neighbors" on this site who are doctors (and lawyers).

Thanks and I will be back tomorrow.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but as a doc, married to a doc, whose both dad's are docs, and both sisters I don't see any problem in the OP asking for advice.

If we need to tiptoe around everybody's feeling just to ask a question we would never discuss anything of merit as it surely will offend someone. Some may be offended, but doesn't make it wrong to post the topic.

Good luck

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:55 am
by White Coat Investor
TomatoTomahto wrote:I know that there are many practicing physicians on BH, and I know that malpractice attorneys are probably not your favorite people. There are also many attorneys on BH, but I don't recall anyone specializing in medical malpractice.

A relative asked me for help finding a malpractice attorney. He specifically said that he didn't want an ambulance chaser, but that he believes that he has a legitimate claim. From what I know of the case, I have to agree that it can be reasonably argued that he didn't receive appropriate care. The delay in admitting him has resulted in a significant reduction in what he can expect from life. He is a young adult. This is not a case of expecting perfection from a physician, or an exaggerated claim based on little direct effect on the quality of his life.

So, anyway, how does one find/select a malpractice attorney, other than Google or watching ads on daytime TV? This occurred in New Jersey.

I thank you in advance for not venting about malpractice insurance rates and our litigious society.
Hmmm....FIRE looking better all the time.

Seriously though, this is why I buy malpractice insurance. It costs 5 times as much as all my other insurance combined, but it allows me to to do something to compensate someone for my mistakes without the money coming out of my pocket. It's hard not to take it personally. It's hard not to lose sleep. It sucks that medmal cases drag on for literally years. It sucks that we don't have a no-fault system for patients that are harmed, so many patients who suffer legitimate harm get nothing all while docs who didn't make a mistake are drug through the ringer. (Docs win most suits.) But at the end of the day, malpractice suits are about getting money from an insurance company and it's the only system out there to compensate legitimately harmed people.

Does your friend need money for something? Because suing someone doesn't bring back whatever was lost. It just provides money.

At any rate, I can't believe anyone would have trouble finding a medmal attorney in their city. Everybody knows the name of the firms in my town. Just Google it.

I don't know what city you're in, but let's say it's Cleveland. This link is like the third Google hit on "Medmal attorney cleveland". Tell your friend to go see one to see if he has a case. Now, how to tell a good one from a bad one? I have no idea. But I suspect the good ones are less likely to take your case.

http://attorneys.superlawyers.com/medic ... cleveland/

There's like 141 of them on that list. Should be pretty easy to interview a handful of them about their experience and previous cases.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:33 am
by TomatoTomahto
The consensus seems to be ask a trusted attorney. Apparently, no national or local organizations work as well. I don't have a large network of them, but there are a few at my gym and I will ask tomorrow.

Thank you to the posters who answered my question directly and helpfully. I very much appreciate your helpfulness. It is why I am proud to be a BH.
Rob5TCP wrote:Best bet is refer all from a friend that is a lawyer (but not negligence).
There are several national firms, but that is hit or miss. If this is major, try to find
one that specializes in your type of case.
staythecourse wrote:I would think just like finding a good doctor word of mouth is best from other well respected lawyers (even if they are not in the same field).
If that is not an option maybe using superlawyers as a vetting start?
Rupert wrote:As a prior poster noted, just about any lawyer in any town is going to be able to tell you who those few medmal firms are. So if you've ever hired a lawyer for anything, then ask that lawyer for a referral.
AZAttorney11 wrote:Talk to a few attorneys that you trust and get their recommendations. I've always asked for referrals by phrasing my question something to the effect of, "If you or a family member had X happen, who would you hire and why?" This should get your nephew some decent names.
sambb wrote:Good malpractice attorney is usually found by word of mouth. .
TheNightsToCome wrote: In response to the OP's question, I suggest asking a trusted attorney for a referral.
bsteiner wrote:Ask other lawyers. They'll either know or be able to find someone appropriate. Don't use Google or television commercials.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:38 am
by TomatoTomahto
White Coat Investor wrote: Does your friend need money for something? Because suing someone doesn't bring back whatever was lost. It just provides money.
I understand that this is a fraught topic. You were helpful to an extent, but the above quote is both condescending and callous. A young man has had his future dramatically affected and you don't have the empathy that we would give someone whose financial portfolio was cut in half? Not your finest hour, doctor. Sorry.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:41 am
by arsenalfan
Here's a decent primer
http://medical-malpractice.lawyers.com/ ... awyer.html

There is a bell curve distribution of competency across all jobs. Trust me, I'm a Doctor (lol).

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:45 am
by TomatoTomahto
arsenalfan wrote:Here's a decent primer
http://medical-malpractice.lawyers.com/ ... awyer.html

There is a bell curve distribution of competency across all jobs. Trust me, I'm a Doctor (lol).
Thank you! I will try to get recommendations tomorrow, but this is a link that I can send today.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:04 am
by bottlecap
I sent a you a PM.

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:06 am
by TomatoTomahto
bottlecap wrote:I sent a you a PM.
Yes, thanks, I replied :D

Re: Medical malpractice attorney - how to find?

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:09 am
by LadyGeek
I removed an off-topic post and reply. The OP's question has been answered. This thread has run its course and is locked (getting contentious). See: Locked Topics
Moderators or site admins may lock a topic (set it so no more replies may be added) when a violation of posting policy has occurred. Occasionally, even if there are no overt violations of posting policy, a topic (or thread) will reach a point where the information content of the discussion has been essentially exhausted and further replies are much more likely to cause distress to the community than add anything of value.