Physicians are no strangers to specialized careers. In narrowing the scope of their practice, specialists develop the expertise and experience to benefit patients and colleagues alike.
Specialization is common in the legal profession, as well, and some legal issues present the need to obtain specialized legal assistance. Just as a patient needing an appendectomy shouldn’t visit a psychiatrist, a medical malpractice client shouldn’t visit a tax attorney.
Before working with an attorney, pose the following questions:
- How many times have you represented clients with my particular legal problem?
- How many of those cases have gone to trial?
- Have you received any specialized training in the area of my legal problem?
- Have you written any articles or taught any courses in the area of my legal problem?
- And, most importantly, what is your philosophy towards handling legal matters?
Some legal issues will require an aggressive attorney; others may need a softer touch, an attorney who will work toward resolving a matter amicably. You should feel comfortable your attorney has the experience to handle the claim and the right philosophy toward litigation. If you want confirmation, feel free to ask for the name of a prior client.
Here are some brief descriptions of the different types of specialized legal services available. Choosing the right attorney will save you time, money and should maximize the possibility that you will have a successful outcome.
Medical Malpractice Defense Counsel
In the unfortunate event you are sued for medical malpractice, you want to make sure your insurance company assigns you an attorney who has substantial experience in defending medical malpractice. These lawsuits are very complex and require defense attorneys to understand not only the legal requirements of the claim, but also the medical conditions and interventions undertaken on the patients’ behalf.
Professional Licensure Defense Counsel
Some attorneys focus on defending health care professionals before licensing agencies, such as the Board of Medical Examiners or the Drug Enforcement Agency. These proceedings often involve issues that are non-medical in nature, such as fraud, sexual misconduct and substance abuse. Attorneys specialized in representing clients before licensing agencies will have a better understanding of how the agency views the issues and will be able to recommend prospective courses of action, such as peer assistance or continuing education programs, making formal disciplinary proceedings less likely.