Juries in medical malpractice cases have sometimes awarded verdicts in the nine-figures. You read that right: $100 Million or more.
Catastrophic injury claims can have damages valuations in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.
The stakes could not be higher.
Even if the claim you bring isn't worth as much, you will want to entrust your case with the right lawyer who will help maximize the value of your case.
Not only that, but you will also want to avoid the lawyer who will lose your case!
Here are 3 things to look for in selecting a lawyer or law firm to handle your case -- and all of them pertain to wealth:
1. Wealth of Knowledge
2. Wealth of Resources
3. Wealth of Experience
Number One: Wealth of Knowledge
You want an attorney who not only has great legal knowledge and training but also a wealth of medical knowledge. There are a few lawyers out there who are also doctors, but that doesn't necessarily make them good lawyers. But it certainly beats those lawyers who know little about medicine.
The lawyer you hire may not have a medical degree or be a licensed physician, but they must not be afraid of learning the medicine, reading the medical literature and medical textbooks, and teaching themselves the anatomy, physiology, and medical concepts. Lawyers who engage deeply with the medicine and learn more about the medicine than their adversaries will do much better at deposition and trial.
Number Two: Wealth of Resources
You want a lawyer/law firm that is well-resourced. Financially, they need to have enough money to be willing to take a case to trial to realize full value on the case. Firms that are cash-strapped or struggling financially may be less inclined to roll the dice at trial and may be financially incentivized to take a lower settlement amount because they'll get paid quicker. That will exert downward pressure on the valuation of your case.
Besides finances, the firm should have a deep pool of human capital. They should have doctors or doctor-lawyers on staff. They should have really good paralegals. They should have a deep rolodex and connections with the top medical experts in the country. Medical malpractice cases require expert doctor witnesses, and you will want your expert witnesses to be the best in the country in order to destroy the defense's expert witnesses.
Number Three: Wealth of Experience
As Bruce Lee once said, fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once -- rather, fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
If your lawyer or law firm dabbles in medical malpractice, do not hire them. You should select a law firm or lawyer who almost exclusively focuses on medical malpractice litigation, because that means they will have handled a tremendous volume of medical malpractice cases and accumulated significant experience. Experience includes failure. They have failed and learned valuable lessons in the past, and therefore are much less likely to make those same mistakes again. Experience allows them to adapt and evolve and become savvier and better litigators. That will increase the chances your case will succeed and succeed big.
In sum, don't be afraid to interview several firms. Don't feel compelled to sign up or contract with a law firm too early. Do your research. Ask questions. Make an informed and well-educated decision.