Throughout pregnancy, parents place enormous trust in their healthcare provider. All parents wish for a smooth delivery and a healthy child. Unfortunately, though, there are incidences where that trust is misplaced. The result is a birth injury.
A birth injury affects the entire family. Besides the physical and emotional injuries, there are also financial considerations. The medical bills can be astronomical, and the child may require lifelong care in some cases.
For first-time parents, it can be challenging to navigate the process. It is why seeking legal help becomes essential.
So, for your child’s safety and your family’s future, we have rounded up some factors you must consider while looking for the best birth injury lawyer.
Consider the Specialty of the Lawyer:
Birth injuries are not limited to superficial cuts or bruises. It can also include more complicated injuries such as Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, and shoulder dystocia. So, you must consider their practice area when looking for a lawyer.
Some lawyers may have experience with medical malpractice cases like birth injuries, but their primary focus may be on car accidents. In such circumstances, it would be best to look for someone specializing in birth injuries caused by medical negligence. For instance, Erb’s palsy lawyers will better understand the condition and know how to build a strong case for a child affected by Erb’s palsy.
Research the Lawyer’s Track Record:
Since you’ll be placing your child’s future in the lawyer’s hands, you must research their track record. Look for similar cases and see how they have fared. It will give you an idea of the lawyer’s competence.
Some factors that ensure the lawyer’s credibility are:
- The number of cases they have handled
- The compensation they have secured for their clients
- Whether they have taken the case to trial.
A lawyer with a solid track record will have no problem sharing this information with you.
Check If the Lawyer Offers a Free Consultation:
The initial consultation is an opportunity for you to get to know the lawyer and see if they are a good fit for your case.
Most reputable lawyers offer a free initial consultation. But some might charge a nominal fee. In such a scenario, you must weigh the pros and cons before deciding. It’s also safe to inquire about any charges before the consultation. During your first meeting, get answers to the following queries:
- How long have you been handling birth injury cases?
- What is your success rate in such cases?
- Who will be working on my case?
- What’s the expected compensation?
- How often will you update me?
- What are your fees? How are they structured?
Check the Lawyer’s Resources:
A birth injury case is complicated and time-consuming. It would be in your best interest to have a lawyer with the resources to see the case through until the end. Unfortunately, some lawyers might lack the resources and settle for a lower amount.
The lawyer’s resources include a dedicated team of investigators, medical experts, and paralegals. They will work together to build a strong case and get you the compensation you deserve. Some lawyers may not have the required resources and might outsource these services. It would be best to avoid such lawyers as they might not have control over the case.
Check the Reviews and Testimonials:
No matter how much research you put in, you will never know if the lawyer is the right fit for your case until you work with them. The best way to gauge their competence is by reading reviews and testimonials from past clients.
Look for red flags like multiple negative reviews, lack of transparency, and unprofessionalism. These are signs that you should avoid the lawyer.
It’ll be a bonus if you know someone who has worked with the lawyer and can vouch for their expertise. So, ask around before you make your decision.
Consider the Communication Style of the Lawyer:
It’s essential to have open communication with your lawyer. They should keep you updated about the case’s progress and answer all your questions.
Some lawyers might be difficult to reach and take days to return your calls. Such a lawyer’s lack of transparency can be frustrating, and you might be in the dark about your case.
Your best choice is a readily available lawyer who keeps you updated about the case. They should also answer all your questions in a way you can understand.
Understanding the lawyer’s communication style will take a meeting or two. So, don’t hold back from scheduling a consultation with multiple lawyers before making your decision.
Evaluate the Lawyer’s Personality:
You’ll be working closely with the lawyer, and it’s essential to have a good rapport. Otherwise, the whole process can be quite stressful.
During the consultation, pay attention to the lawyer’s personality. See if they are easy to talk to and make you feel comfortable.
It would be best if you also had a compassionate and understanding lawyer. They should be able to empathize with your situation and help you through this difficult time.
If you feel your case is just another number to the lawyer, it’s best to look elsewhere.
The Fees Charged by the Birth Injury Lawyer:
You must discuss the fees charged by the lawyer before hiring them. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. It means they only get paid if they win the case.
The contingency fee is usually a percentage of the compensation you receive. So you won’t have to pay anything upfront.
Some lawyers might also charge an hourly rate. In such a scenario, you’ll be responsible for paying the lawyer even if you don’t win the case.
Most parents prefer to work with a lawyer on a contingency basis as it’s a risk-free option. However, if your lawyer hasn’t mentioned their fee structure, ask before hiring them.
How Soon Should You Hire a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Ideally, you should start looking for a lawyer as soon as possible.
Since the hospital and insurance company will try to lowball you, it’s best to have a lawyer to deal with them.
Having a lawyer by your side will also ease the burden of dealing with the legal process. You can focus on care for your child while they handle everything else.
Please keep in mind there’s a statute of limitations in most states. It means you can’t file a lawsuit after a certain period following diagnosis. So, act before it gets too late.
Hiring a birth injury lawyer is your first step toward getting the justice you deserve. So, take your time and research to find the best lawyer for your case. Then, thoroughly go through each point on this checklist to find the lawyer who is the right fit for you.
Remember that the lawyer you choose can make or break your case. So, choose wisely!