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Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer

Spoke on the phone yesterday with a lawyer who advertised on the web as a medical malpractice lawyer, or attorney as they like to be called. But I didn't like the way he sounded. I know that sounds weird, and maybe I'm just overwhelmed by this experience and the tough task ahead, but he made it all sound so hard. I found your site because of a very similar question someone asked about finding a personal injury lawyer. Is your advice the same for finding a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer or do you have any additional or different advice? Thank you in advance.

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No, your concern over your gut reaction to the lawyer you talked to does not sound "weird" at all.  In fact, I applaud you for listening to your gut and moving on. I have no idea what type of injury you suffered and how that injury continues to impact your life, but dealing with these issues can, I know, be stressful.  Now, on top of dealing with your injury, you are adding the stress of trying to sue a person and possibly a medical institution. 

I did not participate in your conversation with the lawyer, obviously, so I cannot say for certain what might account for his tone, but I have an idea.  There is an important  difference between medical malpractice suits and personal injury suits:  Medical malpractice suits are often more complex and more expensive to litigate.  Under Massachusetts law, your lawyer will be required to show not just that you were injured as a result of a surgery or some other act performed by a hypothetical doctor, but that, in performing the surgery or act, the doctor failed to exercise that degree of skill, care, and learning expected of a typical doctor under the unique circumstances.  In most cases, the only way to meet that burden is to hire one or more experts, usually other doctors, to testify.  Those experts are expensive, usually charging hundreds of dollars per hour.  For this and other reasons, Massachusetts is in line with other states in seeing a decline in the number of medical malpractice suits filed every year.  The simple truth is that any Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer who know her stuff will look very carefully at your case (or any other case) before agreeing to take it.

Having said all that, you have only talked to one lawyer!  Cheer up.  Believe me, if you have a strong case, if you were the victim of medical malpractice, you will be able to find many lawyers who are interested in the case.  At that point, yes, I would apply the advice from my other post to your search for a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer.  To recap:

1) Find out how long the lawyer has done medical malpractice work, how many cases she has actually taken to trial, and how many cases she has settled with the insurance companies.  And with medical malpractice cases, because of the complexity I mentioned before, you should dig a little deeper and find out if the lawyer has handled cases that are very similar to yours.  For example, if you suffered an injury as a result of a missed or faulty diagnosis, ask about that type of experience.

2) Find out what her policy is on returning client calls and updating the client on developments (how often and how). 

3) Continue to listen to your gut.  How does he/she make you feel? Does she address your questions with honesty and patience? Remember, she will be on her best behavior during this first meeting, so if she does not fill you with confidence, find another attorney to talk to.  And make sure you are talking to the attorney who will actually handle your case.  This is especially important at larger firms.

4) Get some client references.

5) Finally, I would go to web site for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers and make sure the lawyer has not been disciplined or sanctioned. 

Hope all that helps.

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