Ok, here's the scenario...
You believe your doctor was careless.
You believe he caused you harm.
You also believe your injuries are permanent.
You now want to sue your once-loved doctor.
The person you trusted with your life.
But you believe he dropped the ball.
Your life is forever changed.
You realize that the only way you'll be able to get money as a form of compensation for your injuries is to sue your doctor.
That prompts you to begin searching for the best attorney for you and your possible case.
But you don't know any attorneys.
Nor do you know any friends who could recommend an attorney.
You think how you could find a lawyer who handles the type of malpractice case you have.
You think hard about all those TV commercials about lawyers.
Then you realize you can't remember the name of a single one.
None stand out.
You try to remember the lawyer on the billboard you see on the way home from work each day.
You can see the photo of angry-looking lawyers in your mind, but have no idea who they are or their phone number.
You can't remember the last time you saw an ad in the newspaper or a magazine for an attorney.
So, you do what most everybody does now.
You go online to search for an attorney.
You open Google and type in a question.
You start scanning the search results to see which website and which attorney is right for you.
You start looking at blog posts, at articles, at FAQ's and at videos.
After a while, you narrow down your choices to a few different attorneys.
BEFORE CHOSING AN ATTORNEY, HERE ARE THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- You don't have to pay any money out of your pocket to hire an attorney in NY.
- You need to ask if the attorney you meet with will the be lawyer who tries your case if it goes to trial.
- You need to ask whether the attorney has ever lost a trial.
Let me explain...
(1) When you are looking to hire an attorney for this type of lawsuit, the attorney is also looking to see whether he wants you as a client. He has to evaluate your case to see if (1) your doctor was careless, (2) if his wrongdoing caused harm and (3) your harm was significant or permanent.
If an attorney agrees to accept your case, he will agree to pay for all the expenses associated with prosecuting your case. You don't have to pay anything upfront. Only if you win or you settle your case will you have to repay your lawyer for all the money he spent to move your case forward.
Also, you don't have to pay your lawyer any fee to take on your case. Again, only if he gets you a result in your favor will he be paid for his efforts. We call this a contingent fee. That means his fee depends on whether you settle your case or go to trial and get a positive result.
(2) In many firms you will meet with a young junior associate attorney who will ask you lots of questions. You'll spend about an hour chatting with this lawyer. Some law firms don't even have an attorney meet with you. Instead, they have someone they call an intake specialist or maybe a client relations manager meet with you. These people are usually not attorneys.
You have questions. Lots of them. You want answers to your legal questions. Most likely you'll want an attorney answering your questions. That's why you're there, right? Not just to talk to an 'intake' person.
In some smaller firms the attorney you meet with will be the one who handles your case on a day-to-day basis. He'll meet with you and be involved in every step of your case. In other firms lawyers on different teams handle your case. One team will be responsible for going into court on status conferences. Another team might be responsible for responding to discovery requests. Another team might be in charge of responding to motions where your opponent is asking the court to take some action.
A different team might be responsible for pretrial testimony, called depositions. Then another group of experienced lawyers might be responsible for taking your case to trial. The point is that you need to know how the firm operates. This will help you determine if that firm is right for you and your case.
(3) No attorney ever likes to admit he's lost a case. It's embarrassing. It might appear as if he's weak or that he's the reason his client lost their case. Interestingly, when searching for an attorney online, you NEVER see lawyers talk about cases they've lost at trial. NEVER!
Instead, they only talk about the big wins they've achieved.
And that's ok. They deserve credit for those wins.
But what about the trials they lost?
Shouldn't you know about that before hiring an attorney?
Why did the attorney lose a case?
Did the jury not like the facts?
Did the jury not like the attorney?
What was it that likely caused the jury to reject the case?
Ask any attorney you talk to if he's ever lost a case at trial.
Watch the response.
Is he going to say "I've never lost a case at trial!"
If so, he may not try many cases.
Every trial lawyer who tries cases will have lost a case at one time.
It's just a fact.
But see what kind of response you get from the attorney you're considering.
It will help you decide if this lawyer is right for you.