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Ft. Lauderdale Medical Malpractice: Finding A Good Medical Malpractice Lawyer

26th September 2011
By LawlorWinston in Legal
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Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in America, killing 100,000 people every year.

From 1996 through 1999, Florida hospitals reported 19,885 incidents but only 3,177 medical malpractice claims. In other words, for every 6 medical errors only one claim is filed.

Why are the medical malpractice claims in Florida so low even though Florida is the fifth largest market for medical malpractice claims? The U. S. Department of Justice estimates that in 2003 (the latest available), medical malpractice is the second-toughest type of tort case for plaintiffs to win at trial, with defendant physicians prevailing in 63.3% of verdicts.

Florida medical malpractice claims are by no means easy to win. In my own back yard, many Ft. Lauderdale plaintiffs come into law offices but are hesitant to file a claim. Don’t be. Yes, medical malpractice is a highly specialized area of personal injury and can be complex and time consuming. But if you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice as a result of negligent or irresponsible behavior, you deserve compensation.

You just need to find the BEST medical malpractice attorney, a Ft. Lauderdale attorney with a track record of successful malpractice judgments and verdicts.

Don’t be fooled by the TV advertisements that air on Florida stations all the time inquiring about damages caused by a specific condition or a specific drug. In most cases, these central organizations will not bring justice to its clients. Generally, they are clearinghouses and get compensated by racking up referrals to attorneys they serve. If you believe you have a legitimate medical malpractice case, you’re better off contacting a LOCAL attorney.

Here are some other characteristics to look for in medical malpractice attorneys:

  • Local – You want a local medical malpractice attorney because they are familiar with the state laws and the local judges, medical experts and court personnel.

  • Trial experience – Although many medical malpractice cases are settled out of court, your particular case may go to trial if an agreeable settlement cannot be decided beforehand. You do NOT want an attorney who has never been to trial .

  • Payment – Beware of medical malpractice attorneys who want to charge you upfront. Most law firms will accept medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you don't have to pay attorney fees unless the case is settled favorably. Generally, the lawyer will be paid based on a percentage of 25 to 40 percent of what you may collect on a settlement, or on a judgment if the case goes to trial.

  • Amount of settlement – Do not choose a medical malpractice attorney solely because he predicted the highest amount of money you might be able to recover for the case out of all the lawyers you interviewed. That lawyer may be trying to persuade you to hire him, but then later he can explain to you that the case is not coming along as good as he had hoped, and therefore the value is actually less than promised. Good lawyers will seldom give an opinion on the value of a case until they have had a thorough opportunity to investigate the case and have the records reviewed by experts. Even then, case value is a complicated proposition and not a shoot-from-the-hip matter.

  • Size of firm – Research the law firm. Is it the right size for your case? Many Ft. Lauderdale medical malpractice and personal injury firms are too small to handle large, complex cases nor do they have the support staff that includes paralegals, law clerks and administrative personnel. You also don’t want a Ft. Lauderdale law firm that is too large, where you and your case get lost in the shuffle.

  • Special Needs – Do you have special needs? Could you benefit from a medical malpractice law firm that speaks Spanish, for instance? Check to see if the Ft. Lauderdale law firm has information in both English and Spanish on their website.

  • Commitment to the local community – Is the law firm actively involved in the community? Do they give back through local charities and affiliations?

  • Local associations – In addition to the Bar Associations, do the medical practice attorneys belong to local associations such as the Broward County Justice Association and the Palm Beach Justice Association?

A good medical malpractice attorney will be familiar with fighting for your rights against hospitals, insurance companies, physicians, nurses, etc. Your medical future could be on the line. Choose a medical malpractice attorney that can be a strong voice for families and victims of negligent healthcare.

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