Before you can claim the compensation you deserve after a malpractice-related injury, you need to know how to find a good malpractice lawyer.

Medical malpractice cases are complex and can take years to complete. You need a lawyer by your side who understands the unique challenges and is prepared to meet them. One way to ensure that you get the right representation is to ask the right questions.

By asking the following questions during your initial consultation, you can determine if you’ve found the right lawyer for the job:

  • How much time do we have to work with?
  • What background do you have with malpractice cases?
  • What background do you have with my specific injury?
  • What resources does your firm have to cover the costs of the case?
  • Is a settlement or trial more likely in my case?
  • How many cases have you taken to trial?

Let’s look at each of these questions, why they matter, and what answers you want to hear.

How much time do we have to work with?

You should start your consultation by asking your lawyer how much time you have available to file your claim. This is an essential question because strict statutes of limitations apply in medical malpractice cases. If you don’t seek justice soon, you may lose your chance.

In some states in the US, the time limit for filing a claim is as short as a single year from the injury date. The extent of some injuries resulting from malpractice may not even be apparent until months after they occur, so it’s unwise to wait, even if you’re not in a lot of pain.

Your lawyer will be able to provide you with the time limits on filing a claim in your state. Use that answer to determine if you have time to continue researching your options or if you should make a strong decision right now.

What background do you have with malpractice cases?

You should ask your lawyer what experience they or their firm have with malpractice cases. The answer they give matters because you need a lawyer who is highly experienced with these types of cases.

Malpractice law is complex, and filing a successful claim often involves a significant amount of proof. Even understanding the evidence involved in these cases can require a medical background or access to medical professionals.

Furthermore, these cases are often fought against lawyers hired by national insurers who have significant resources. The lawyers employed by malpractice insurers will have a lot of experience, so make sure that your lawyer has the background to keep up.

What background do you have with my specific injury?

You should ask your lawyer what experience they have litigating cases that involve injuries like yours. On its own, malpractice law is different from other types of law. However, there are also significant differences between the most common types of personal injuries.

Due to the special factors involved, you may be able to find lawyers in your area who focus on all of the following types of medical malpractice negligence:

  • Misdiagnosis (or delayed diagnosis)
  • Birth defects
  • Spinal injuries
  • Surgical errors
  • Medical product liability
  • And many more

If possible, try to find a lawyer who has experience with the category that most closely matches your injury.

What resources does your firm have to cover the costs of the case?

You should ask your lawyer what resources they have to pursue your case and who is responsible for covering expenses until the trial is complete. These are important questions because the costs of malpractice cases can be immense.

Even law firms that work on contingency may not cover all the necessary expenses for their clients. You will need to negotiate what will be covered, and some smaller firms may simply not have the resources to cover every cost.

The resources needed to complete a malpractice court case include:

  • Court filing fees
  • Administrative fees
  • Lawyer fees
  • Expert witness fees

These costs can easily exceed $50,000 before the lawyers have even been paid.

Is a settlement or trial more likely in my case?

You should ask your lawyer whether they believe your case is more likely to end in a settlement or a trial and which one they would prefer. The best answer depends on what you’re hoping to get out of your claim, though the choice isn’t always yours.

Resolving your claim through a settlement means that your lawyer was able to come to an agreement with the opposing party. You won’t have to spend as much time in a courtroom. In most cases, settlements are also resolved far more quickly than trials.

Resolving your claim through a trial means that you have the best chance at maximizing your award. Most insurance companies that settle do so because they suspect that they’ll pay more at trial. On the other hand, if you lose at trial, you won’t get anything.

How many cases have you taken to trial?

You should ask your lawyer how many cases they’ve successfully taken to trial over their career. This is not only a good indication of their experience; it’s a good indication of whether or not they’ll try to seek a settlement even if a trial is in your best interest.

It’s rarely a good sign if your lawyer has taken very few cases to trial. If they have taken many cases to trial, you can consider the rate at which they are successful.

Start your journey to justice by asking the right questions

Before you can get compensation for your personal injury, you need to choose a lawyer who can help you. Before you can choose a great lawyer, you need to ask the right questions. Use the questions you’ve learned here to find someone qualified to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Did you know that 2% of the United States population is paralyzed? That’s over 5.6 million people! While some people are born with a form of paralysis, most cases occur due to a spinal cord injury.

Unfortunately, the condition usually comes with a heavy toll — both financially and psychologically. As such, it’s important to seek financial compensation if your paralysis was caused by someone else.

Unfortunately, depending on the case, this is easier said than done. That’s why you need a dependable spinal cord injury lawyer to help get the money you need for treatment.

In this article, we’ll walk you through what these types of lawyers can do for you. We’ll also give you some tips on finding a good one. Let’s get started!

What Are the Different Spinal Cord Injuries?

Spinal cord injuries differ from one another in terms of their severity. The more severe types are known as complete injuries. That means that you’ve lost all ability to feel and move below where the injury occurred.

An incomplete spinal injury means that you still retain some sense of movement or feeling below the injury. You can also categorize spinal injuries according to what part of your body becomes paralyzed. These include:

  • Quadriplegia – Both the legs and the arms are completely or incompletely paralyzed
  • Paraplegia – The legs and pelvic region are completely or incompletely paralyzed
  • Monoplegia – One of your limbs is completely or incompletely paralyzed
  • Diplegia – One region of the body, on both sides, is completely or incompletely paralyzed
  • Hemiplegia – One side of the body is completely or incompletely paralyzed

You can learn more about spinal cord injuries by consulting this guide.

What Causes These Paralysis Injuries?

The most popular types of paralysis are caused by spinal cord injury. This type of injury occurs when the lumbar section of the spine is severed or damaged. However, a traumatic brain injury is a popular cause of paralysis.

The brain is extremely fragile. As such, damage to specific sections can completely sever mobility. The final cause is serious personal injury. This occurs when a part of the body is crushed, rendering it unusable.

Many medical conditions, like sleep paralysis, strokes, and hyperkalemia, can cause complete or incomplete paralysis. However, most of the time, these types of injuries are caused by accidents.

These can be any types of accidents — auto, boating, slipping, workplace, and animal bites, just to name a few. They can also be caused by something called medical malpractice.

This type of injury occurs when a doctor injuries a patient due to negligence. You can learn more about this term through our helpful guide.

Why Should You Hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?

It should go without saying that the legal process is complicated. This convoluted law process is reason enough to hire a good attorney. However, often individuals think that the black and white nature of their spinal cord personal injury case means they can handle it on their own.

After all, what judge would rule in favor of someone responsible for paralyzing an individual? The answer may surprise you. At the end of the day, all most people care about is money.

No matter how guilty the individuals or corporations are, they will often try to shortchange people they’ve hurt. They’ll do this by hiring expert legal teams to prove they aren’t responsible for your injuries.

As such, if you try to tackle this case on your own, or with an inferior lawyer, then it’s likely you won’t get everything that’s owed to you. That’s why you should look for a good lawyer — preferably one that specializes in spinal cord personal injury cases.

This will simplify the legal process and make it more likely to get higher compensations on your lawsuit. But how do you find a good law team? By looking for the qualities in the next section.

What to Look for in a Lawyer

As we mentioned in the last section, it’s vital to look for a lawyer specializing in your specific type of injury. That means that they have the specific knowledge necessary to handle your case.

It’s important to also search for a company that has a lot of experience. Past results aren’t always a great indication of the experience of a law team. Why? Because every case is unique, and what applies to one person may not apply to another.

However, the longer a firm has been around, the more practical exposure they’ve had to the type of cases they fight for. Finally, the last thing you should look for is support. Spinal cord injuries can be traumatizing, and recovery is a long and winding road.

As such, you want a lawyer team that understands this and sticks with you through the ups and downs. Avoid firms that treat you like just another case number. These individuals are only in it for the money.

Instead, search for lawyers who offer hands-on service — both legally and personally. These experts will walk you through one of the most challenging crises of your life through thick and thin.

Want a Team That Will Fight for You? Contact The Barkett Law Firm

We hope this article helped you learn the importance of finding a dependable spinal cord injury lawyer. But how do you find a firm that you can trust right off the bat? If you live around Tusla, Oklahoma, then look no further than the Barkett Law Firm.

Our team knows how hard it is to deal with spinal cord injuries. Financial concerns aside, we understand the physical and emotional tolls that come with cases. That’s why we’ll guide you through every step of the legal process.

While we can undo the physical damage, we can promise support so that you’re not alone when navigating the legal process. If you’ve been injured, then please contact us as soon as possible so we can begin fighting for you.

Are you involved in a legal dispute? Perhaps you or another party has requested an arbitration meeting.

However, you know nothing about the arbitration process. 

The process involves gathering evidence, assembling witnesses, and presenting arguments. From there, a person or panel will issue the proper verdict. 

It resembles a court hearing, but it’s less formal. This type of hearing will resolve disputes faster. 

This article will discuss arbitration hearings in greater detail. Let’s explore.  

What is Arbitration? 

Arbitration is a resolution body that’s independent of the court system. The hearings are private, and the court shouldn’t interfere in the hearings.

A panel usually hears the arguments. The panel will make decisions that all parties must agree to. 

The rulings within this system are binding, and another body cannot overrule the decision. There’s also no option to appeal the ruling

One person can preside over the hearings and make the final decision. Conversely, three people usually reside over the process. Overall, the panel will consist of an odd number of people to foster a tiebreaker if necessary. 

A person can become a panelist if each party mutually agrees to the appointment. In some instances, each side may choose an arbitrator. Then, the two panelists appoint a third person. 

On the other hand, an outside party may choose the panel members, such as a court or an institution. The panelists can be from all walks of life. For instance, the panel members could be lawyers

The panelists are objective parties that will resolve lingering disputes. The goal is to impose a fair verdict. 

Overall, there are three types of arbitration:

  • Consumer Arbitration: Consumer arbitration pertains to disputes between consumers and businesses. 
  • Labor Arbitration: Labor arbitration refers to employment disputes and collective bargaining agreements. There are two types of labor arbitration: interest arbitration and rights arbitration. Interest arbitration involves bargaining disputes, and rights arbitration addresses violations within collective agreements.  
  • Commercial Arbitration: Commercial arbitration settles disputes between two enterprises. Commercial arbitration is the most common type. 

Arbitration is different from mediation, where the rulings are non-binding. In some cases, however, arbitration rulings are also non-binding. 

How the Process Works 

First, one party can petition the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for a hearing. From there, the opposite party receives a notification about the filing.

The receiving party must respond within a certain deadline. You may also find arbitration clauses in contracts and agreements.

The contract will appoint a neutral body, such as the AAA. It may also appoint another institution (i.e. the National Arbitration Forum).  

When both parties agree to the arrangement, the neutral organization may establish procedures and guidelines conducive to both parties. Procedural issues may include such matters as:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Finding Witnesses
  • Obtaining Depositions
  • Deciding the number of arbitrators
  • Imposing timelines and deadlines 
  • Deciding how the arbitrators are chosen
  • Establishing award procedures

The preliminary hearing exists to establish basic rules before proceeding any further. Leaders within the body are free to tailor the hearing as necessary.   

After, both sides will present their arguments and convey additional information. Then, the primary hearing takes place.

Both parties present evidence and hear witnesses. In most cases, the hearing will only last a single session.

After the hearing concludes, both sides will present additional information and documentation if necessary. However, the submission of additional information depends on the panel’s discretion.

Shortly thereafter, the panel will issue a verdict. They will also bestow awards as stipulated from the procedural hearing. 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

This resolution process is usually faster than the court process. Whereas a hearing can last a single session, the court system may involve several sessions. 

In many cases, all parties must wait before a judge or jury hears the case. They must also wait until judges can fit the hearing in their schedules. Further, the preparation time is less demanding.

Plus, arbitration meetings can be less costly. Prolonged court sessions can add up over time. 

  • Note: Arbitration can also be costly, with a single arbitrator costing $2,000 or more. However, the cost depends on how the parties structure the hearing. 

This type of procedure also allows you to appoint experts and professionals who understand the subject matter.

In a court hearing, you may contend with a judge or jury who doesn’t fully comprehend the dispute. This is especially true when dealing with complex business matters. 

Cons: 

Despite the convenience, you may scoff at the informal evidence methodologies. Since no judge or jury examines the evidence, you may end up with a panel who doesn’t know how to organize the evidence. 

Moreover, many critics note the inability to appeal a decision from the panel. You must abide by the rulings of the hearing, no matter how unjust the verdict may be. 

Additionally, arbitration clauses outlined in contracts and agreements usually favor the companies instead of a person. Therefore, the procedure may not be as neutral as you’d think. Worst of all, you may deal with a biased arbitrator who favors the other side.  

Is the Arbitration Process Worth It?

The arbitration process is worth it if you don’t want to proceed through the court system. When considering the advantages and disadvantages of arbitration, the pros tend to outweigh the cons.

Arbitration hearings are objective bodies that can issue a just verdict to both sides. If you prefer formality, however, consider a court hearing instead. More importantly, discuss your case with an attorney who is familiar with this type of hearing. 

Are you dealing with a legal dispute after an injury? Click here to learn how a personal injury lawyer can help you.