The term “malpractice” is not one to typically bear positive. It is, however, a term used to describe an array of issues in dire need of a positive remedy. The formal definition of malpractice is when a professional exhibits negligent or unmindful behavior on behalf of an individual or entity. Malpractice attorneys are professionals that specialize in seeking justice and compensation for all troubled parties. Lawsuits may be filed with these types of lawyers by the personally affected individual, or by the loved one(s) of those affected; which can be common in cases of medical malpractice claims.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Medical malpractice suits are quite possibly the most notorious offense. This particular negligence involves medical professionals and the care and/or expertise they have provided (or lack thereof). Due to the severity, complexity and necessity of medical practice, lackadaisical behavior on the part of physicians and their staff can have extremely detrimental and at times even fatal outcomes.
A medical malpractice lawsuit filed with malpractice attorneys can range from surgical errors and cosmetic botches, to injuries sustained by the mother or infants during birth. Cases of carelessness on the part of a doctor when prescribing prescription drugs, is another big issue that malpractice attorneys must become familiar with.
It is not uncommon for malpractice attorneys to seek out the professional opinions of several types of medical professionals to determine if an injustice has indeed occurred. Attorneys must be particularly prepared for a ‘fight’ in these cases. Because their careers and very livelihoods are at stake, many doctors will be willing to endure a strenuous litigation process in the hopes of beating a malpractice suit filed against them.
Legal Malpractice Claims
Attorneys that are trained in this particular field can also ironically be approached with claims of legal malpractice, in which a client asserts that a lawyer has failed in providing legal representation to the best of their ability. These instances are a bit trickier to assess due to the fact that United States’ law has very strict guidelines as to what can be considered negligence on the part of an attorney.
It often times requires proof of potential and alternative outcomes of the case, had the attorney in question not been negligent. Furthermore, the person citing malpractice must have proof that the undesired outcome was not merely based on poor strategy, but a clear case of infraction on the part of the lawyer. In many cases a public defender is assigned to a defendant who cannot afford their own private attorney, which can commonly fall under the aforementioned error of strategy.
Public defenders very often have notably higher caseloads and less time between clients to become extensively familiarized with all aspects of the claim. Grounds for legal malpractice will not be considered “met” simply because an attorney is overworked or not as seasoned in a courtroom setting.
In some cases an individual filing a legal malpractice suit must conquer unforeseen obstacles before being able to present their claim in court. For instance, a handful of jurisdictions require the person who believes they were wrongfully convicted of a crime to obtain judge confirmed proof that they were convicted solely due to their attorney’s negligence.
It would be part of a malpractice attorney’s ‘laundry list’ to provide assistance in seeking out factual proof of innocence on their client’s behalf before presenting these types of cases in court. As with any legal profession, preparation is always the key element in gathering all the facts of the case, and providing the best representation possible.
White Collar Malpractice
Another type of malpractice suit that malpractice attorneys can be approached with is negligence in the nature of professional or “white collar” instances.
These particular types of cases involve errors committed by employees in financial and/or accounting fields. This can range anywhere from stock brokers to insurance handlers. It can constitute as malpractice if any of these professionals’ negligence or improper and faulty techniques result in financial distress for the client.
In these instances the hired attorneys must investigate all actions leading up to as well as the outcome and other possible outcomes of the case that may have been more favorable to the client.
They must also determine if the client has initial and substantial grounds to file suit. This can often times involves illegal practices on the part of the professionals being held liable.
For example, in cases involving insurance scams, the client would ideally provide physical documentation such as receipts, contracts and any other notarized paperwork that can contribute proof in the form of a paper trail and make it plausible for the attorney to follow up through as many outlets as they see fit.
Compensation in Malpractice Claims
When seeking out a malpractice attorney, compensation is normally achieved through a form of settlement. In the case of a civil suit, settlement is an agreed upon monetary amount in which the plaintiff is paid out by the defendant rather than pursing the matter through trial. This is commonly known as ‘settling out of court’. The malpractice attorney will negotiate with the plaintiff’s attorney on behalf of their client to reach this desired amount.
Settlement of a Malpractice Claim
A settlement is a popular practice because it avoids having to spend additional funds on litigation fees for both parties, especially on the part of the defendant who can further be sued for court fees obtained by the plaintiff following the conclusion of a trial.
It is also a practice that is enticing to both parties in order to “save face”; in other words, avoid potential embarrassment that could result from trial proceedings. During trial, an assortment of elements are fair game and personal details such as employment history, criminal history and financial standings can all be brought to light; out of court settlements relinquish this possibility all together.
Information About Class Action Lawsuits
In other cases of malpractice, actions required by attorneys can be way more extensive, complex and time consuming. Such an example would be a class action suit. A class action suit is a suit in which multiple parties who share a common interest either sue or are sued by another party.
Class action suits are convenient and beneficial instances where the number of litigants wishing to file suit is so large that reaching an agreement that satisfies all parties involved on an individual basis would not be practical. Therefore, attorneys must obtain court approval before proceedings may continue; clients will voice their concerns and opinions in terms of retribution and compensation, and malpractice attorneys will file accordingly on their behalf (commonly known as “seeking damages”).
It is also imperative to consider any factors that may require long term assistance and or care for the plaintiffs. If this is the case, a method of long term compensation must be noted as a clause in the final draft of the agreement. Once approval is received, both parties must agree on the settlement amount and guidelines, such as how the settlement will be paid out (either in a lump sum or structured payments).
The attorneys handling the suit must also negotiate in meetings and arbitration as to an amount they will receive for their services. All these components must be achieved before the matter is confirmed a considered resolved.
Legal Fees in Malpractice Claims
Attorneys can be compensated for their services in a couple of different ways. Typically with a malpractice suit, since financial compensation is normally the ultimate goal, the attorneys’ office will receive the settlement check and deposit it into an escrow account.
Once all expenses are paid in regards to the case, the attorney will take their cut, which is typically agreed upon as a percentage of the total settlement. It is only after these crucial steps have been taken that the party will receive the remainder of the funds.
Malpractice attorneys can also be paid a service fee up front; however, this is not typical in a class action suit. Other types of malpractice suits, such as legal and “white collar” may draw this type of required action in certain cases.
It is the discretion of the attorney, as well as the attorney’s firm to decide the manner in which payment will be received. This is a reason as to why most law firms and even private attorneys will offer a consultation for clients in order to allow them to decide if their particular services and methodology is a proper fit for their needs to be met.
In the event of a malpractice suit being deemed justified and fit for settlement or trial, the attorneys that are hired on have several esteemed duties to uphold on behalf of their clients. In this day and age, a firm’s reputation is a huge consideration in handling cases.
Malpractice suits can become a matter of public record, and the internet is riddled with forum based sites in which clients can post reviews of the services and treatment they have received. Not only are the clients’ well-being and satisfaction huge factors in any legal situation, but the reputation of the attorney as well as their firm hang in the balance of any and all cases they agree to take on.