What Are the Necessary Skills To Become a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
To a degree, we all learn as we go, whether we work in construction, farming, retail, finance, teaching, medicine or law. Even so, for some careers an inordinate amount of study is necessary just to be able to get a foot in the door. One of these professions is medical malpractice law. As my desire to be a medical malpractice attorney crystallized, I realized what a tremendous climb confronted me in terms of time, cost, and commitment.
Steps To Climb To Reach the Goal
In addition to being a good student, becoming a malpractice lawyer involves:
- Earning a Bachelor’s degree -- often in English, history or political science
- Taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in order to be admitted to law school
- Completing law school with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree
- Completing an internship for on-the-job experience, preferably in the personal injury field
- Preparing for and passing the bar exam in any state in which you intend to practice though you will be tested on federal as well as state law
- Actually working in the field, preferably with a medical malpractice/personal injury firm
- Becoming board-certified by The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys
If you didn’t realize how much study and perseverance are required to become a medical malpractice lawyer, imagine how I felt. I admit that the process was daunting and difficult and that I had moments of thinking I would never meet my goal. In the end, though, I believe the struggles I went through made me a more empathic attorney.
What Medical Malpractice Lawyers Do
Medical malpractice lawyers represent clients who have been injured due to misdiagnosis or mistreatment by a doctor or other healthcare professional or by a hospital’s defective protocol or vetting process. As a medical malpractice attorney, I fight for the rights of clients who have suffered because of the incompetence, negligence, or even malice of medical professionals. I work diligently to win them the damages they deserve for such things as: medical and rehabilitation costs, lost income (present and future), pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of consortium, and disfigurement.
As a medical malpractice attorney, I handle cases involving:
- Birth Injuries
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Nursing home abuse
- Prescription or medication errors
- Wrongful birth
- Wrongful death
Though the job of being a medical malpractice lawyer is intense and often stressful, I find great satisfaction in fighting for the rights of clients who come to me unjustly harmed by individuals they trusted with their lives, individuals who took an oath to “do no harm.”
Skills Medical Malpractice Lawyers Need
Pinpointing the skills needed for any occupation is as important for the person who wants to hire a qualified practitioner as for the individual seeking the job. This principle applies to medical malpractice law. If you are seeking an attorney to represent you or a member of your family in a case of medical malpractice, you should look for someone with a well-earned reputation for:
- Critical thinking and analytical skills
- Strong research and writing abilities
- Excellent public speaking skills
- Power to debate aggressively, backing up statements with details
- Familiarity with medical terminology and scientific information
- Connections to experts in medical and related specialties
I deliberately put compassion at the top of this list because unless you find a legal representative who cares about you and your family, the process of suing for compensation can be anxiety- producing, adding stress instead of minimizing it. Your lawyer should have your back and lift your burdens at this terribly challenging period of your life. Besides, I have found that lawyers who are compassionate are typically honest and careful as well, dedicated to protecting those entrusted to their care.
What Contingency Fees Mean to You
While you’re confronting enormous medical costs and the bills keep arriving while you are unable to work, the last thing you need is exorbitant legal bills. Fortunately, legitimate personal injury attorneys typically work on a contingency basis. This means you will not owe any fee until your medical malpractice lawyer wins you the damages you are entitled to.
The Medical Malpractice Lawyer You Choose Can Make All the Difference
Make sure that you choose wisely when you pick an attorney to handle your medical malpractice case. Remember, the wheels of justice turn slowly, so you are likely to be dealing with this individual for some time, often a couple of years. Also, remember that you will not be charged a consultation fee so you can afford to shop a bit in order to settle on an attorney you’re comfortable with. The good news is that you will be able to assess many of the skills described here once you sit down for the initial consultation. Pick a medical malpractice lawyer who not only has the credentials and successful track record of a true professional, but who presents as committed to the well-being of you and your family.
Brian Cummings has 20 years of litigation experience, including successfully handling and trying scores of medical malpractice and personal injury cases. Brian is Board-certified as a Medical Malpractice attorney by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. He is 1 of less than 20 attorneys in Tennessee who have earned this certification. Brian is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, and in Tennessee, Hawaii, California, Georgia, and Florida.