These steps can help you find the best dental malpractice attorney.
Ask for recommendations
If you have worked with an attorney on issues such as divorce or estate planning, you can ask the attorney you are already in a relationship with for a referral to a dental malpractice attorney. Most attorneys know attorneys in other specialties who are good at what they do.
You can also ask friends and family if they know anyone who has worked with a dental malpractice attorney that they can recommend.
If these options fail, local bar associations and other professional groups may be able to refer you to attorneys who have a solid reputation for handling dental malpractice claims.
Find out in advance how you will be charged
In the vast majority of cases, a dental malpractice attorney will charge a contingency fee for legal services. This means that your payment is contingent on the lawyer helping you get compensation.
But while virtually all dental malpractice attorneys charge on a contingency fee basis, not all contingency fee agreements are created equal. Typically, depending on the complexity of your case and depending on your attorney’s usual rates, you will be charged between approximately 33% and 40% of the amount you recover. Some law firms will also require you to pay legal fees regardless of whether you win, while others will not.
Be sure to speak to any attorney you wish to work with to find out their exact fee schedule. You don’t necessarily want the cheapest lawyer because it’s worth paying for expertise. However, you want to make sure you know in advance what you will be billed for and that there aren’t any unexpected charges that you aren’t expecting.
Ask about the attorney’s experience with dental malpractice claims
Dental malpractice claims are very specialized. Your attorney must be able to prove to you that your dentist has breached their professional standard of care by providing a level of service below what a reasonably competent dentist with the same training would have offered.
It’s best to make sure your attorney has handled these types of highly technical cases in the past.
Find out how previous dental malpractice cases were resolved
Each case is different. Just because your attorney has helped previous clients win doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily win your own claim.
But an attorney with a track record of success has proven that he can make a convincing case on behalf of his client. Therefore, it is important to find an attorney who has a history of winning large settlements or compensation claims for clients.
Find out if your attorney has ever brought a dental malpractice lawsuit to court. While many cases are settled out of court, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case. You want to make sure that your attorney actually has courtroom experience as well as a track record of negotiating successful settlements.