You need a lawyer.
A smart lawyer.
A medical malpractice lawyer.
Here in New York.
You think your doctor was careless.
You think your doctor's carelessness caused you harm.
You think your doctor's wrongdoing caused you permanent injury.
You don't know an attorney.
Nor do you know someone who can recommend a trusted lawyer.
So, what do you do next?
Most likely you'll go online and do a search on Google.
While doing your research online, you notice that most lawyer websites say the same thing.
"We've been in practice for over 20 years!"
"We give personal attention."
"We get results."
"We prepare every case as if we're going to trial."
"As seen on TV!"
"If we can't get you a result, you don't have to pay us!"
When you begin to look at the results attorneys have achieved and posted on their website, you notice they all look the same.
Sure the facts are slightly different, but the results page show they've gotten settlements and verdicts that were favorable for their injured clients.
What you don't see are the cases that they lost.
Rarely will you ever find an attorney talking about a case he lost and why. (I do.)
What you don't see is the case that was settled for less than the full value.
What you don't see is an attorney who had to deal with a very demanding and difficult client.
As you are searching for the right lawyer for you and your specific malpractice case, how do you distinguish between lawyers who have similar million dollar verdicts?
Aren't they both good?
Don't their verdicts indicate they have significant experience?
The answer is yes and yes.
Nothing beats results.
Nothing beats success.
Nothing beats experience.
But when you are choosing amongst attorneys who have similar credentials, similar experience and similar results, how do you decide which one is really for you?
You might be thinking it's a tossup and it doesn't matter which one you go to.
On the other hand, you might think it makes a huge difference.
You consult with some friends and family members.
They are as torn as you.
One relative suggests flipping a coin to see which lawyer would be better for you.
Another relative suggests to go to the attorney who appears to be the underdog as he will want to succeed more than the attorney who has already been successful.
The reality is that many of these strategies can work for you.
You could flip a coin and rely on chance to decide which attorneys right for you.
You could throw a dart at a dart board and do the same thing.
You could decide to go with the attorney looks nicer on his website.
On the other hand, you could evaluate the information each lawyer provides before you ever pick up the phone call.
This allows you to see what kind of message they are putting out to attract new potential clients.
Let me give you some specific examples...
Is the lawyer providing you with information that teaches and educates you?
Are they explaining to you how your particular type of case works?
Do they have hundreds of frequently asked questions and answers on their website?
Do they have free consumer-oriented books that they wrote specifically to help you understand how your lawsuit works?
Do they provide helpful newsletters and videos to teach you how these types of cases and trials work?
If they don't, you might want to ask “Why not?”
If a law firm fails to provide you this great information before you ever pick up the phone to call, you need to ask why aren't they providing you with great free information?
They might have chosen not to market themselves at all and simply relies on word-of-mouth to generate new clients.
On the other hand, a law firm might decide to put out great information to help educate and teach consumers who have legal problems to educate them before they ever call or come into their office.
Lawyers often have a difficult time differentiating themselves from their colleagues and competitors.
Many attorneys have similar credentials.
We all went to law school for three years.
Everyone who practices law has passed the bar exam.
We are all licensed to practice law in New York.
Sure, some law schools are better than others.
However, an attorney who went to law school at the top of his class gets the same J.D. degree as an attorney who graduated at the bottom of his class.
Assuming the two lawyers you are considering both have the same type of experience, a similar number of years in practice as well as similar results, it's going to be extremely challenging for you to decide which one is right for you.
Your best bet would be to make in-office appointments for each of those law firms.
Meet with each attorney.
Ask many questions.
Question such as...
- How often do you update me on my case?
- Do I have to call you for updates or do you automatically e-mail me or text me on a monthly basis?
- Do you provide a hardcopy newsletter to teach me about things going on in your law firm and the law?
- If I have a question about my case, will I be able to speak to you each time or will I have to go through your underlings including a paralegal, case manager, a junior associate or a junior partner?
- Which attorney will be with me during my deposition?
Will it be you or some junior associate? (You may not want someone who is learning the ropes and getting experience at your expense.)
- When my case comes up for trial, will you be trying it or will my case be assigned to some other attorney in the firm whom I've never met?
- If the defense offers to settle at some point during my lawsuit, who will give me an analysis about the value of my case and who will recommend whether I continue forward to trial or try and settle?
- Have you ever lost a case at trial?
- If so, why did you lose?
- Have you ever had to withdraw from a case before trial or during a trial?
- What do you think of the other lawyer that I'm considering hiring? The answer will be very telling.
- Ask whether they have an attorney-client portal that allows you to get updates where you can login at any time to see documents on your case and communicate directly with your trial attorney.
Ask about their big million dollar verdicts.
- What you really want to know is how much money the client actually walked away with at the end of all appeals. The mere fact that the lawyer achieved a great verdict does not always correlate with what the client walked away with.
Let's face it, an attorney who has similar results and experience compared to another attorney who has also achieved million-dollar verdicts and settlements usually means that they know what they are doing.
You should also know that no attorney can ever guarantee you a particular result, regardless of whatever result they achieved in the past.
You might decide that the staff in one lawyer's office is friendlier and more receptive to you and your concerns.
You might prefer the convenience of one lawyer's office over another.
You might decide to go with one law firm because they don't ask you how to spell your last name every time you call.
Remember, your choice of attorney will affect you for the next 2-3 years.
That's the typical length of time a medical malpractice case takes from start to finish.
To learn about a case I lost at trial, I invite you to watch the quick video below...