Probably the last thing any parent wants to worry about after a traumatic birth and the day-to-day of tending to the needs of a child with disabilities is the process of looking for and hiring a lawyer. In no small part this is because most people, fortunately, have never needed a lawyer. Our clients are not litigious people—most of them come to us reluctantly after realizing that they simply do not have the means to take care of their child’s lifetime of medical and special needs. It’s important, therefore, to take some of the mystery out of hiring a lawyer. Knowing what to expect will make the process easier.
A Nationwide Practice
Our medical malpractice lawyers travel all over the country to litigate birth injury lawsuits. We get special permission from the courts of other states to appear and represent our clients, in combination with local lawyers from that jurisdiction. This is advantageous to you—having multiple lawyers does not cost you any extra. If your state is one that we do not practice in, we can usually refer you to top-notch lawyers in your area.
Never Pay For A Meeting With Your Lawyer
Trial lawyers should not charge you for an initial meeting. If they charge anything, you are paying too much. Most personal injury lawyers will talk with you over the phone and meet with you to discuss whether you have a birth injury malpractice suit, at no charge. Some lawyers try to make a few extra dollars by charging for those consultations. There are too many good lawyers out there to pay for that service.
The Initial Intake
Most of our clients send us information online or call us directly. Very early on, we will probably have a phone conversation (though you are welcome to visit us in the office) to discuss what happened, and why you think you might have a birth injury lawsuit. We will ask you questions about your pregnancy, your health care providers, and what you remember from labor and delivery. We’ll want to know if there has been any diagnosis of your child, whether cerebral palsy, developmental delays, brachial plexus, or any other determination.
Based on that conversation, we will be able to tell you whether we think your medical providers may have been negligent. If so, we will move to the next step.
In order to determine whether your medical malpractice lawsuit can be successful, we will have to conduct a detailed investigation. In order to do so, we will need you to sign a few forms, including:
- Retainer agreement: this is the agreement between you and our law firm. It explains how our fee structure works. We use what is called a contingency fee. That means that you do not pay us hourly, nor do you pay us up front. We get a percentage of the total recovery. Typically, our fee is one-third of the total recovery if the case resolves before we file a lawsuit; and forty-percent of the total recovery if the case resolves after a lawsuit is filed. Case expenses, like postage, deposition fees and exhibits come out on top of that amount. Importantly for you, our firm takes all the risk, so if there is no financial recovery, you will not owe us anything.
- Medical authorization: In order to talk to your medical providers and to obtain medical records from your doctors and your baby’s doctors, we will need a signed medical authorization. This gives your doctors and hospitals permission to send these records to us (if you have any medical records already, please forward them to us). We may also seek your child’s academic records.
Things To Give Your Lawyer
In order for your lawyer to successfully investigate your case, please provide the following information:
- Any medical records or bills from the pregnancy, labor, delivery and your child’s treatment
- The names and contact information for the child’s biological parents and/or guardians
- The names and contact information of all medical providers who cared for you during your pregnancy
- The names and contact information of all medical providers who cared for your child after birth
- Photographs of your child
- Your health insurance information, including whether you or your child are on Medicare, medical assistance, or social security disability.
Don’t worry if you don’t have everything—just give us what you can, and we will take care of the rest.
To properly investigate a claim can take time (which is why it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after you suspect medical malpractice). We will have to order medical records, review them in-house, and get the opinions and approval of many experts. You can rest assured that we are moving as quickly as possible, and that we are careful to be as thorough as possible. If medical experts approve and agree to testify in your lawsuit, we may contact the negligent medical provider and attempt to negotiate a birth injury settlement. If that is not successful, we will write a complaint and file it with the court.
If We Do Not Take Your Case
If we cannot find evidence of negligence or if your situation does not meet the court’s criteria for a lawsuit, we will let you know as early as possible. We know that this can be a confusing process, and we are devoted to helping you find answers and to understand your options. Sometimes a lawyer’s investigation, whatever the result, can bring a family peace of mind.
To find out if you or your child qualify for a birth injury lawsuit, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (855) 712-7818 or send us some information online to get your claim started. We can explain the process in more detail, and we can get you answers.
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