Medical Negligence Lawyers Guide.
If you’re thinking about making a medical negligence claim, you’ll need a good medical negligence lawyer to help you. This guide will help you understand how they work and how to choose the best medical negligence lawyers to suit your needs.
What does a medical negligence lawyer do?
A medical negligence lawyer is a personal injury lawyer who specialises in medical negligence claims. Many medical negligence lawyers work on a no win no fee basis, which means they’ll fund your medical negligence claim for you and they only get paid if they win your case. They can do this because they assess the likelihood of your claim succeeding before taking it on.
A medical negligence lawyer will handle all aspects of your claim for you, by engaging medico-legal and other experts and compiling the reports and evidence needed to support your medical negligence claim.
If you’ve already spoken to a medical negligence lawyer and you’ve been told your claim is unlikely to succeed, it may be worth getting a second or third opinion, as different lawyers may have a different view of your claim depending on their experience. To learn more, read our medical negligence payout guide.
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What will happen when I call a medical negligence lawyer?
When you first call, the medical negligence lawyer will generally assess your situation and form an opinion on whether you have a valid claim. They will start by going through your medical records to determine whether the records support an allegation of medical negligence. The next step is to consult one or more qualified medical professionals and get written reports to back up the allegation of medical negligence. A medical negligence lawyer can only win your case if they have evidence from a medico-legal expert that medical negligence has occurred.
For example, if you were injured during surgery that went wrong, then to prove medical negligence you need to show that the surgeon didn’t meet the appropriate standard of care. This can be difficult to prove, but a key part of the process is to provide an assessment from a medico-legal expert that shows how the surgeon breached his or her duty of care.
Once they have established the likelihood of success with your claim, a medical negligence lawyer will advise you on your options. If you decide to proceed, then the medical negligence lawyer will prepare your claim by compiling all of the evidence needed including medical records, witness statements, medical reports and forensic accounting reports to substantiate your claim. For more detailed information on claiming compensation, read our Guide to Medical Negligence Compensation.
How do you choose the best medical negligence lawyers?
Here are four questions to help you choose the best medical negligence lawyer for your claim:
- Do you specialise in medical negligence claims?Some personal injury lawyers will take on a range of personal injury claims such as car accident and workers compensation claims. But medical negligence is a very specialised field within personal injury law and you’re likely to have a much better chance of success if you choose a specialist medical negligence lawyer.
- Do you have experience with similar claims to mine?Ask the medical negligence lawyer to tell you about claims they’ve won that are similar to yours. Again, this is a very specialised area of personal injury law, and the last thing you want is a lawyer who has little or no experience with claims like yours.
- What will I have to pay when my claim is over?Firstly, be aware that not all ‘no win no fee’ agreements are the same. Under a no win no fee agreement your lawyer should never ask you to pay any expenses up front – they should fund your claim for your and only get paid if they win. However, some medical negligence lawyers will still bill you for expenses like medical reports (referred to disbursements) if they lose your case, and with medical negligence claims this can be very costly. Secondly, ask the lawyer what is the maximum amount they will charge you if you win. The best medical negligence lawyers will cap their fees so that you can have peace of mind that costs won’t get out of hand.
- How well will my lawyer get to know me?This might seem like a strange question to ask, but how well your medical negligence lawyer gets to know you will be key to the success of your claim. By taking time to get to know you and your family well, your lawyer can form a full picture of what your life was like prior to your injury or illness and how your life has changed. This is a key aspect of the case your lawyer will put together for claiming compensation.
How much do medical negligence lawyers charge?
The medical negligence lawyer will provide you with a costs agreement to sign before taking on your claim. It’s important to understand the fee structure before you sign their costs agreement – here are some things you should know:
- Medical negligence lawyers in Sydney and NSW can’t take a percentage of your compensation claim.
- Some medical negligence lawyers charge an hourly rate, while others work on fixed rates according to a schedule of services they provide. Beware of agreeing to an hourly rate, as it might put you off talking to your lawyer for fear of running up a large bill.
- Some medical negligence lawyers cap their fees – that means their fees will never exceed a set percentage of your compensation.
- Most good medical negligence lawyers will work on a no-win-no fee basis, so you only pay their fees after they win your case and you get your compensation.
- Some medical negligence lawyers will ask you to pay up front for expenses such as medico-legal reports, travel costs or court fees, or charge you interest on these expenses. However, the best medical negligence lawyers will fully fund your claim for you and won’t charge you interest on any expenses they incur.
- Remember that some firms may still charge you for disbursements* if they don’t win your case, so you should check the terms of their no win no fee agreement carefully.
*Disbursements are costs incurred by the law firm in the course of running your medical negligence claim.
Where can I find the best medical negligence lawyers in Sydney and NSW?
Law Partners Personal Injury Lawyers is Australia’s largest specialist personal injury compensation law firm, with a number of specialist medical negligence lawyers. They have 15 offices across Sydney and NSW.
Medical negligence lawyers in NSW – show me a lawyer near me.
An accredited specialist in personal injury law with expertise across medical negligence, public liability and motor accident compensation claims, in a career spanning the best part of two decades.
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