In life, there are people who do their jobs well, and there are people who barely do their jobs. It’s mildly annoying and inconvenient when a server at your favorite restaurant is not great at their job, or when the barista at your morning coffee shop is rude. However, when your attorney exhibits signs of incompetence and unprofessionalism the stakes are intensely higher than a continually empty water glass or a burnt Americano in the morning. When your lawyer is bad, inefficient, nonchalant, or careless in their job (and on your case), it could harm the very quality of your life.
This is why it’s vital that you know who your attorney is, how he/she does his/her job, and how he/she performs on his/her cases. In this article, we’ll talk about how to get to know your medical malpractice attorney and the things to look for/know about when hiring him or her:
- Your own client obligations
If you have any questions after reading this article, please reach out to us at 1-833-MedMals, email us at DrChakour@sowellchakour.com, or fill out our convenient online contact form. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about your case, our track record, and what we stand for when it comes to our clients and their cases.
Does Your Lawyer Communicate Adequately with You?
An all-too-common complaint legal clients have in general with attorneys is that the attorneys don’t communicate with them about their case. Unfortunately, some attorneys leave their clients in the dark when it comes to updating them on the details and/or progress of their cases. Sitting at home wondering endlessly about your medical malpractice case is a kind of pain all its own because you just don’t know what’s happening. Your case might be progressing, there may be updates, or there may not yet be any progression or updates. Your attorney could be absolutely awful, or he/she could be doing a great job. Whatever the situation, you don’t know because your attorney has failed to communicate anything with you at all.
So how do you know if your medical malpractice attorney is going to leave you in uncertainty? You’ll have a good idea according to how he/she operates from the beginning. Once you retain counsel, your attorney should do the following:
- Explain the options available to you regarding your specific legal situation
- Discuss the legal strategy with you
- Provide a timeline of important deadlines and events
- Promptly return phone calls and answer any questions you have
Keep in mind that you may not hear as frequently from an attorney who is on trial or working on various legal matters, so a level of patience is appreciated. However, someone from the office should be able to explain when you will hear from your attorney and assure you that someone is adequately handling your matter. If your lawyer isn’t giving you the courtesy of filling you in on important happenings, she/he is doing a disservice to you.
Is Your Attorney Competent?
You have a right to attorney competence. Unfortunately, there’s no policing of subpar attorneys who are just “bad” at their jobs– the American Bar Association goes after lawyers who violate specific ethical rules. If a lawyer fails to act competently, jeopardizing your financial wellbeing, there could be legal remedies for you. Before you ever get to that point, there are some things you can do to help you choose a diligent attorney from the start:
1. Check testimonials. Everywhere you look online these days you can find reviews. Before hiring your attorney, check out their Google, Facebook, or Yelp reviews. Note that there are also legal-specific websites where you can find more reviews. Some of these legal sites include Lawyers.com and Justia.
2. Check their prior experience. It’s important to know how many cases like yours your lawyer has had, as well as how many times he/she’s had success. This is especially important in medical malpractice cases, as these cases can be quite legally complex and specific. Checking your lawyer’s website is a good place to start. Do they have case studies available? Do they have bios on the site that list past experience? For medical malpractice attorneys, having medical and healthcare experience is a good sign they’ll know exactly how to handle your malpractice case.
3. Interview your attorney. Get the info you need straight from the horse’s mouth. It’s always a good idea to interview your attorney to get a feel for who they are as a person and how much experience they have on the winning side of medical malpractice cases. Some good questions to ask include: How long have you practiced law in this specific practice area? How many cases like mine have you represented? Besides your law degree, what other special training or knowledge do you have that could benefit my case?
Knowing who your lawyer is before you hire him/her is key in retaining a good, qualified, and diligent malpractice lawyer.
You Have an Obligation as a Client, Too
When retaining an attorney, understand that you, as the client, also have certain responsibilities in the relationship. If your case is to get resolved as smoothly and successfully as possible, it’s important that you uphold your obligations, such as:
- Following through on what you agree to do
- Preparing written summation of the events and timeline pertaining to your case
- Telling your lawyer everything so no surprises come out later that may jeopardize your case
- Knowing that your lawyer has a duty to keep what you say confidential
- Respecting your attorney’s time and schedule
- Providing any requested details and information in a timely manner
- Paying your bills on time
- Updating your lawyer on any developments in the case
- Giving your ultimate cooperation
- Remembering that you and your attorney are on the same team
The attorney-client relationship is most efficient when all parties buy into it, working together to efficiently execute the legal strategy and work toward getting the best results.
Retaining a medical malpractice attorney is an important step in winning your malpractice case so that you can get your life and health back on track. Make sure you fully know who is representing you and your case from the start in order to have the best possible outcomes.
If you have been injured and believe you have a medical malpractice case, contact us today at 1-833-MedMals, email us at DrChakour@sowellchakour.com, or fill out our convenient online contact form. We look forward to helping you get the justice you deserve.
The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not decide whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.