There is no legal requirement that says you have to have a lawyer in order to file a medical malpractice suit against a medical professional. You are free to pursue a claim on your own and advocate on your own behalf. Before you decide to do venture on your own, there are several reasons to consider why you would be wise to hire a lawyer.
First of all, you should know what you will be up against if you file a medical malpractice claim. Doctors and medical professionals have insurance to cover their claims and the insurance companies have lawyers to protect their interests. The insurance companies are interested in paying you as little as possible and they pay their savvy attorneys well to keep their malpractice claims as low as possible. This means when you file a claim, you will have an experienced attorney doing everything he or she can get you to settle for less than you deserve. You may not know how much compensation you should receive and may have a lot of difficulty proving what you are owed without the help of experts of your own, and so you will be missing important information when you go to negotiate.
The lawyers for the insurance companies and the hospital will minimize your injury and pain and suffering, and will try to cast doubt over the question of whether or not the medical care you received was negligent and caused your injuries. And, if you cannot reach a settlement with opposing counsel, you will have to argue your claim at trial. This means potentially working on your own for months doing discovery, compiling evidence, taking testimony, and finding medical experts to testify on your behalf. Your adversary will have done all of these things numerous times and will be far more prepared than you will be to present a case before a judge and jury.
Additionally, making sure you are filing an accurate and timely claim is complicated, and you may not be in the best state of mind or body to figure it out on your own. If you are recovering from an injury or mourning the loss of a loved one, you are already in a vulnerable position, and you will need to spend much of your time and energy on recovery or the grieving process. The additional stress and uncertainty that comes with a filing a claim and following up on your own can detract from your ability to focus on your health or wellbeing. Furthermore, you likely will need a successful claim to cover the expense of your treatment and rehabilitation as well as the wages you may miss out on as a result of being too injured to work, so risking not getting the compensation you need may be a terrible idea.
Finally, depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may have multiple claims to file against multiple parties. The deadlines for each claim can vary and if you take to long, you lose the right to pursue it altogether. There are also commonly tight deadlines to follow up on once you start a claim and if you do not know what you are doing, it is easy to get overwhelmed and lost.
None of this information is intended to scare you, but you should have a good idea of what you will be in for before you file a claim yourself. When you hire an experienced attorney to represent you and file a medical malpractice claim on your behalf, you have an advocate on your side that is able to take a stand against the insurance company’s attorneys and prove your case in court, if necessary. A competent attorney will also know how to work with medical professionals to establish that the care you received negligently caused you harm and with financial experts that can accurately show how much compensation you deserve. Your attorney will know what information to gather, what questions to ask of the opposing side, and how much compensation to demand during negotiations. You will have as much leverage as possible when you negotiate because not only will you have proof of the amount you should receive, you will be equipped with an experienced attorney who is more than capable of taking the case to trial. Trials are costly and usually opposing counsel would rather settle than incur the additional expenses of trial if you establish that you have a strong claim.
Overall, by not hiring an attorney, you are running the risk of missing a deadline, making a mistake on your paperwork, or not filing a claim you have altogether because you did not know you could. Even if you do file your claim correctly, you will likely have to negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster who can use his or her advantageous position to get you to settle for less than you deserve, or go to trial where the your disadvantage will be even greater. If your goal is to make sure all your claims are filed accurately and efficiently and to receive the maximum compensation possible, then you should definitely speak with a personal injury attorney immediately.
Still not convinced? One final piece of information to know is that consulting with a personal injury attorney is free. You do not pay a dime unless you win your claim, so there is literally no financial risk to you and therefore no reason to at least call an attorney and find out what your options are. If you do not like what you hear, you can walk away owing nothing. Our attorneys are available to take your call now. We have years of experience collecting millions of dollars for clients and can answer your any questions you may have right away. Call us now at (212) 400-4000, or, if you prefer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and get a free consultation today.