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How to Choose a Medical Malpractice Attorney

March 15, 2021

Research from Johns Hopkins University found that more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die each year from medical errors. Other reports say that figure may be as high as 440,000.

If you or a family member has suffered an injury from the care of a hospital, doctor, surgeon, or other healthcare professionals, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. A serious patient injury, such as the misdiagnosis of cancer, administering the wrong prescription, or diagnostic errors is life-changing, and you need a strong legal advocate to make certain you or your loved one receives the compensation they need or deserve.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you look for an experienced medical malpractice personal injury attorney:

Experience. Experience is the key. Typically, any Michigan member of the bar can represent any client on any case. But who would want a seasoned estate planning attorney handling his or her case for medical malpractice against a surgeon or a hospital? No one. This attorney may be extremely competent with estate tax issues and creating trusts, but they won’t have the trial experience, negotiation skills, and wherewithal to take a potentially complex personal injury case through the entire process successfully on your behalf. In fact, an estate planning attorney may never have seen the inside of a courtroom or taken a deposition!

Likewise, a brand new attorney will have tons of energy and enthusiasm for your medical malpractice case. And this attorney will also probably be less expensive. But what this attorney won’t have is experience. You should look for a personal injury lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice cases.

A Track Record of Results. Along with experience with med mal cases, a successful medical malpractice personal injury attorney will be able to point to his or her success at trial and in settlement negotiations. And stay clear of firms with high intake and high turnover… these are lawyers who have commercials on TV every 30 minutes telling you how great they are.

In reality, law firms of this sort make money (mostly for themselves) by quickly settling with the insurance company or at-fault party to avoid the cost and time of lengthy discovery and pretrial work. They’re looking to settle, take a third, close your case, and look to the next medical malpractice victim and victim of their marketing practices. This practice usually results in settling your claim for less than it’s really worth, so they can take their fee. Stay away from these “settlement mills.”

In contrast, a confident and experienced medical malpractice personal injury attorney won’t pressure you into settling your claim until you have the compensation you deserve and you’ve reviewed the details thoroughly. When you look at an attorney’s track record, you’ll be able to get a feeling of how they’d treat you and your case.

They Have a Team Handling Your Case. This means they have the staff and the time to devote to your case. A good team works well together and knows every client. You’re paying for an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, so you want to know that he or she is going to participate significantly in overseeing your case, and have an excellent team of individuals working on your case. As you’re interviewing potential medical malpractice attorneys, ask about their current caseload. This will give you a sense of whether this potential candidate is active with cases, yet doesn’t have too much in the pipeline to keep them from devoting their efforts to obtaining the best outcome possible for your case.

Your Attorney Has Time for You. Similar to sufficient bandwidth, an excellent medical malpractice personal injury attorney will make time for clients and will meet with them at home or in the hospital. While you may not get an exact answer if you ask what their response rate is, your candidate attorney should be able to return your call, text, or email in 24 to 48 hours. If he or she waffles or can’t say for sure, it’s a sign that the law firm is to busy to take on your case and give you the attention you require.

Also ask them how often they’ll update you on your case. While the most important skill for a successful medical malpractice litigator is how they work on the legal aspects of your case, it can be very frustrating for a client to not know what’s going on or have no idea how the case is going. Don’t expect a daily news brief, but communications about major events in the litigation and some regular “touching base” are to be expected.

Good Recommendations and Real Reviews from Satisfied Former Clients. An experienced and a successful medical malpractice personal injury attorney will have positive reviews from clients on the internet and on their website. Be suspicious if they don’t have any reviews, just a couple, or extremely negative reviews. Review the reviews to see what former clients have to say about the attributes you’re looking for in a medical malpractice attorney.


Just because an attorney is licensed to practice in Michigan doesn’t mean he or she is the best choice for representing you in your case. Choosing a medical malpractice personal injury attorney who can handle your case with compassion, conviction, and expertise will increase your chances of a successful outcome. In sum, you want an attorney with a proven track record who is respected in the legal community. You want someone you feel will advocate for you strongly, address your priorities first, and always work with you to get the best possible result.

Contact us!

For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home, or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today!