If you or a family member have been the victim of medical negligence, then you may be trying to file a malpractice suit. These suits can involve misdiagnosis, surgical errors, incorrect treatments or a wide range of other problems. If you’re in the process of filing a claim for compensation, then you’ve probably hired a solicitor to help you with the process. If you’re not familiar with medical malpractice, then you’ll want to make sure your solicitor is, so be sure to ask these questions.
1. What Will I Pay for Your Services?
This is probably the first question that you’ll want to ask before moving forward. You’ll actually want to ask how much the cost will be to investigate the claim. If you then proceed with the claim, you’ll also need to know what those costs will be.
Medical negligence claims are paid for in a variety of methods. You may be able to use legal aid in some cases although the conditions for this have become more strict over the years. Most medical negligence solicitors use a “no win, no fee” agreement. This type of payment means that you will not be charged for their time throughout the case, The solicitor will even usually cover any costs of obtaining medical evidence and any other expenses that are needed to support the claim. If your case is successful, then they will be able to cover their legal costs from the other party.
The third option available is that you’ll pay the solicitor their hourly rate throughout the process. This option is often costly and most people don’t choose this since you can incur high costs without winning the claim.
2. What Is Your Experience in Medical Negligence?
The law is a highly specialized area and you want to hire a solicitor or team that knows what they’re doing. Medical negligence is especially a complicated area, even more than other types of injury claims. You’ll want to ensure that you choose a solicitor who has the expertise as well as the experience to win your claim.
No matter what solicitor you choose, you’ll want to ask them a few questions before committing. Some people might want to approach solicitors such as The Medical Negligence Experts, as they provide a free over the phone consultation (you can arrange this by filling in the brief form on their website), which gives you a great opportunity to ask all the important questions that you have.
Depending on the firm you contact, it might be worth asking if they specialise in medical negligence and if so ask how long they’ve been working in this area and the approximate number of claims that they’ve worked with. You’ll also want to ask how many cases they’ve won and if they have taken many claims to a court hearing. If the solicitor can’t or won’t answer these questions adequately, then you’re better off looking somewhere else.
3. Do You Have Experience In My Type of Claim?
Medical negligence UK laws are fairly complicated and challenging specific medical conditions can be difficult. A patient who has received an incorrect diagnosis of cancer would be in a different situation to a patient who had a botched surgery. Your solicitor may not have a great deal of experience in your specific situation but ask them if they have any experience in that specific type of malpractice.
Keep in mind that you may not get a solicitor who has a great deal of experience in your area but some is better than none. You’ll also learn if they are knowledgeable about where to go with your case by asking this question. If the solicitor can name cases won in areas that are similar to your own, then you should be confident with their knowledge.
4. How Long Will the Process Take?
You’ll want to ask this question fairly early on in the process since you’ll need to be prepared. Medical negligence cases can take years before a final settlement or ruling is reached. They involve complex medical and legal issues which means that it may take a longer period of time to resolve than a simple car accident or other situation. Your solicitor may not be able to give you a specific date in mind but should have a general idea. This knowledge can help you prepare for the future.
5. Can I Receive Treatment?
If you or the affected person is experiencing pain or other medical problems, then you’ll want to ask the medical negligence solicitor whether they will be able to help you obtain private medical treatment in the future. They will probably let you know that there needs to be medical evidence to support your need for continued treatment. However, if that can be proven, then the solicitor will include private medical treatment as a part of the medical negligence claim.
6. How Do I Contact You?
Of course, you need to find a solicitor that you trust but you’ll also want to set up a way to contact them as needed. You should be able to reach them through a phone call or email when you have questions. Ask them what the best way to contact them is and what times they are available. Since the best medical solicitors have busy schedules, you may need to set up appointments to talk to them or send them emails to answer some of your questions. A good solicitor will be able to work with you in order to ensure that you have the access needed and they’ll reach out to you with answers as quickly as possible.
7. What Are My Chances of Winning?
Although medical negligence cases are difficult to prove, you should ask the solicitor about your chances of winning the case. They may not be completely sure but most medical negligence lawyers can give you a general idea about the case. Keep in mind that new evidence which comes forward during the case may affect your chances. However, having realistic expectations is beneficial from the early stages. This is especially important if you will be paying for the solicitor. Most “no win, no pay” solicitors will not accept a case unless they believe that they have a fair to good chance of winning although there are always exceptions to this rule.
It’s also important to know your chances since you may not want to pursue a case that has a low chance of success. Since medical malpractice cases can take years to be done, it may not be worth your time to pursue them. No matter what you choose to do, your solicitor can help you with realistic expectations.
8. Can I Change Solicitors?
Since the case may change over time, you may need to bring in other solicitors who are more knowledgeable or specialized in your area. If you choose a group of solicitors, you’ll probably have the experts that you need in-house but be sure to ask what will happen if the solicitor finds himself or herself out of their depth. Although it’s usually best to keep the same legal counsel throughout the case, knowing what to do in a variety of situations will be beneficial.
Keep in mind that these questions are some of the basic ones to ask but this may not cover every question you’ll have. Make sure to record any questions you think of to ask the solicitor. Medical malpractice solicitors are a great resource but use these questions to find an expert for your case.