Author Topic: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring  (Read 696 times)

bogart

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1092
medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« on: May 08, 2021, 05:54:02 PM »
Hi all,

Some time back my DH had a medical implant installed that has caused (?) an assortment of problems and that we've since learned is subject to ongoing lawsuits, including some that have decided against the company that produces the implant in question.

We don't know much about the legal liability or the responsibility of the company in question; DH has definitely had some medical problems, some of which are weird and that we have no reasonable explanation for and others of which could be associated with ordinary aging, etc.  Because of the medical problems he's experiencing, he's planning to have the device replaced with a different one that isn't associated with those kinds of problems (the weird ones, as well as the not weird ones, are all on a list of problems-that-may-be-caused-by-the-device). 

We've identified a large local law firm that we don't otherwise know, that seems to do many cases against the implant company in connection with these kinds of cases (some of which may be part of a class action, I'm not really clear). 

To work with them, DH has been instructed to start by signing a document that basically commits him to working with them or paying the costs they incurred by working with him, if he decides to work with a different firm.  I get that this makes sense in that they are working for us for free unless they get something through a case (and in that case they take 40%, which I think is standard). 

Should he or shouldn't he sign?  I get why it makes sense from the law firm's perspective and appreciate that he shouldn't "use" them if he doesn't plan to work with them.  OTOH we know almost nothing about them (beyond the "google review" level of knowledge), so are making a commitment on the basis of pretty much no knowledge.  Thoughts?

Malcat

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6946
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2021, 06:49:02 PM »
There's absolutely no way that they'll work on contingency without that kind of agreement.

The only way to avoid that kind of agreement is to actually pay them hourly for their work instead of on contingency.

norajean

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 603
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2021, 09:15:20 PM »
Was he warned in advance that there could be side effects?

Kayad

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 84
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2021, 05:06:16 AM »
Do you know any lawyers?  As a lawyer (not a pi layer though). I dont know any great way to find out who is a good litigator in a field other than asking other lawyers.  Id at least schedule a consultation with a few different firms.

former player

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6687
  • Location: Avalon
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2021, 06:09:46 AM »
You need a lawyer who is plugged into the generality of actions being brought in relation to this particular implant - they will have access to all the current information on the legal situation and evidence available.  There is absolutely no point in going to a lawyer who isn't currently involved in litigation on this implant.

I would ask your proposed lawyer how many people they are representing in relation to the implant and whether there is a class action in progress and if so whether you would become part of it.  You could also ask whether they are working with other firms in relation to the action (without asking them to disclose the names of those firms) and how many claims overall they are aware of.  You could also ask about their successes in previous claims on other medical devices.

As long as you get good answers on those questions this is a firm with a decent local reputation (been around for a bit, seems to be thriving, in good standing with the local bar association, no google hits that are worrying) and a track record in medical negligence claims it's almost certainly OK to sign up with them and I suspect it would be hard for you to find a better option.  I wouldn't go with a firm that is not in your locality (for convenience) and certainly not one which outside your State (for legal knowledge and accountability).

Once you have signed up you do need to know that you shouldn't be chopping and changing lawyers: the only circumstance in which you should be asked to pay out is if these people do work for you on the basis that they will get part of any settlement and then you try to sack them after they've spent time and money on your behalf but then won't get any reward.  I suppose you could try to go to a different lawyer at some point on the basis that the new lawyer is required to pay any claim the old lawyer had against you but I don't think you'll get a new lawyer to take it on on that basis and you might still get caught up in trouble over it.  So if you sign up, know that you need to stick with what you've signed up to.


fuzzy math

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1282
  • Age: 39
  • Location: At the lake
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2021, 09:14:05 AM »
Hernia mesh?


I'd look up whether this is a large enough problem that big firms have lawsuits in place, and see if you can somehow talk to any other claimants. Also, it doesn't hurt to shop around and ask other firms what they charge and what their policies are. This is a large decision and if the payout is going to be 6 figures or something, those percentages matter.

bogart

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1092
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2021, 10:35:42 PM »
Hi, all -- thanks.  No, he wasn't warned about the sorts of side effects he has experienced.  This is helpful advice.  We totally get that it is reasonable/appropriate for the lawyer to get us to commit because of the contingency payment model, and we certainly want to be able to commit once we are, well, committed (i.e. we're not looking to shop around/jump ship once we've picked a lawyer).  It just feels weird to make that commitment when we know pretty much nothing about the firm.  Will try to use the information you've provided to learn a bit more and make a decision. 

Malcat

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6946
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2021, 06:25:29 AM »
Hi, all -- thanks.  No, he wasn't warned about the sorts of side effects he has experienced.  This is helpful advice.  We totally get that it is reasonable/appropriate for the lawyer to get us to commit because of the contingency payment model, and we certainly want to be able to commit once we are, well, committed (i.e. we're not looking to shop around/jump ship once we've picked a lawyer).  It just feels weird to make that commitment when we know pretty much nothing about the firm.  Will try to use the information you've provided to learn a bit more and make a decision.

Ah, okay, your question was very confusing.

It sounded like you wanted to go with this law firm, but were questioning whether or not it was reasonable to sign the contingency agreement.

What you are actually asking, I think?, is how one should shop around for a good lawyer?

You just shop around like you would for anything else. Do a bunch of online research, like seeing if you can find firms that have already been involved in and won settlements specifically for this product.

Talk to multiple firms, compare and contrast what they seem to be able to offer, and as someone else said already, lawyers are the best resource for evaluating other lawyers, so if you know any lawyers, ask them if they can help you ferret out who is really good for this work.

Lastly, lawsuits are very stressful, so make sure you sign with someone you really feel you can trust. Whether you like them or not, make sure that they make you feel like you have total confidence in them, because you do not want to go through this process, a deposition, etc, with any doubts about your lawyer.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 03:59:50 PM by Malcat »

bogart

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1092
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2021, 03:42:26 PM »
Thanks, @Malcat.  Yes, that's what I was trying to ask. 

Malcat

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6946
Re: medical malpractice lawyer - Q about hiring
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2021, 04:09:24 PM »
Thanks, @Malcat.  Yes, that's what I was trying to ask.

I get it, I'm in the middle of a lawsuit right now, and having absolute confidence in my lawyer is the reason I don't really stress about it. I know it will turn out as well as it humanly can. I don't have to constantly be second guessing or questioning if what we're doing is the best thing possible. I just don't think about it and I leave it with my lawyer.