About initial consultations and choosing a birth injury lawyer
The process of choosing a lawyer can seem rather overwhelming and confusing, especially due to the fact that what has motivated your search is the fact that your child has been robbed of a normal childhood due to his or her birth injuries. How do families facing these types of issues choose the right attorney? How do parents find an ethical, qualified, and experienced attorney who has their child’s best interests at heart? How do they find someone that knows the ins and outs of birth injury cases and who can provide them with information and resources necessary to help them raise their special child?
As an attorney with over three decades of birth injury experience, I want to help empower you to take control and fight for your child’s rights. I fully understand how challenging it can be to deal with the constant uncertainty of how you will be able to afford to provide your child with the care that he or she desperately needs. Innocent children who were deprived of their full potential to live a normal life due to, for instance, sustained periods of fetal distress or a traumatic birth deserve legal representation from a team of compassionate yet aggressive legal advocates who will fight for their rights. My team of legal professionals and I are committed to providing you and your family with answers, hope and the information you need to make important decisions about your child’s case. I firmly believe that my clients should be armed with all of the facts necessary to make highly informed decisions about their case – always.
Moreover, I also feel that people who fail to take all measures and precautions necessary to prevent birth injuries should be held fully accountable and brought to justice for their actions. I encourage you to review my website, which is a trusted resource for valuable information regarding the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of birth injuries. I also invite you to contact us at 800-462-5772, or complete an online contact form should you wish to discuss your child’s case further.
When seeking legal services, the process of choosing a lawyer usually begins by obtaining a referral or recommendation to a lawyer who concentrates in the type of law required. Lawyer referrals can be obtained through the state bar association, a trusted lawyer, or through an organization familiar with the legal issue. An attorney who concentrates in birth injury litigation can be important when it comes to getting you everything that you deserve for your child.
I am an attorney focused on litigating birth injury cases and privileged to have earned the trust of numerous clients. First and foremost, I am a father. I know so well the anguish you feel and want to assist you in your search for answers and justice. For the last thirty years, I have assisted thousands of special needs children and their families. I concentrate my practice on birth injury. For families who are currently seeking legal assistance to determine whether a child may be qualified to receive Lifetime Benefits, or to ascertain whether their child’s physical impairment is due to a preventable birth injury, I am here to help.
I invite you to read more about me, my qualifications, my highly successful track record, and the monetary awards I have earned for my clients. To me, it is not about the money. It is about making a difference – that’s my bottom line. You are in good hands, and I promise you that.
A Medical Legal Review at no cost
I have a professional team in my law firm, Stern Law, PLLC, and we will work with you to provide a thorough analysis of the facts of your case in order to get you the answers that you need. As part of my practice, I am affiliated with carefully chosen law firms throughout the country, which offer experienced legal services. Through these partnerships, I can offer a free Medical Legal Review of your child’s medical records no matter where you live (subject to certain legal limitations). This review is provided by experienced lawyers, paralegals, and, occasionally, doctors and nurses. There is no charge for the review and it can provide valuable information and a more thorough understanding of the cause of your child’s condition.
If the Medical Legal Review demonstrates that your child’s birth injury was due to medical negligence, your child may be eligible to receive Lifetime Benefits. To learn more about the circumstances surrounding the cause of your child’s condition, and whether your child may qualify for Lifetime Benefits, contact us at 800-462-5772.
About an initial consultation
An initial consultation is extremely helpful to both you and the lawyers you interview. Contracting a lawyer’s service is akin to forming a partnership of sorts as each of the parties has a vested interest in the matter.
To learn more:
- What to expect from an initial consultation;
- Ten questions to ask when scheduling an initial consultation;
- Ten items to bring in an initial consultation;
- The purpose of an initial consultation;
- Ten items the lawyer will assess before agreeing to take the case;
- Why lawyers are selective in which cases they chose to represent;
- Ten reasons a lawyer may decline a case.
These are detailed below.
What to expect in an initial consultation
The first meeting between you and a lawyer is called an initial consultation. Each party interviews the other to determine whether they would like to work together on a case.
You, as the client, must determine:
- Does the lawyer have the appropriate knowledge and experience to litigate your child’s case;
- Whether the benefits of pursuing Lifetime Benefits are worth the effort;
- Whether you feel comfortable with the lawyer.
The lawyer is evaluating:
- Whether he feels the case has merit;
- Whether his firm has the resources necessary to pursue the case at that time;
- Whether there are any conflicts of interest in representing you;
- Whether he feels comfortable with the potential client relationship.
While the initial consultation is often free of charge, exceptions do exist. When scheduling an appointment, you should inquire about fees. Lawyers have different fee structures for initial consultations, ranging from a free of charge to a discounted hourly rate or a set fee. In addition to inquiring about cost, the client may also wish to ask about expectations for the initial consultation. I offer free initial consultations, as I believe this is the right thing to do.
Ten questions to ask when scheduling an initial consultation
When you make your initial call, you likely will speak with the receptionist to schedule your initial consultation. This is a valuable opportunity to get some initial answers. If you are unable to meet in our office, we frequently provide in-home appointments for your convenience. Our employees are caring individuals and will answer patiently any questions you may have. Some questions to ask the receptionist when deciding whether to make an appointment for an initial consultation with any lawyer include:
- What type of law does the firm practice? Does the firm concentrate in birth injury litigation?
- How many years has the firm been in existence?
- How many years has the lawyer been practicing in the field of birth injury litigation?
- Do the firm’s lawyers typically represent the prosecution or the defense in birth injury cases?
- Where is the office located?
- Does the firm offer initial consultations? Are these done in person or over the phone?
- If the firm does offer initial consultations, is there a charge?
- What is accomplished in an initial consultation?
- What items should be brought to the appointment?
- What kind of fee structure does the attorney use?
Ten items to bring in an initial consultation
It is always a good idea to be as prepared as possible. I know that your life is chaotic right now as you are making all the adjustments necessary to meet all the specialized needs of your child. I also know that you are a fighter and will do whatever is necessary to secure the best possible future for him or her. Appointment preparation will help ensure the case is properly evaluated for merit so that everyone can accomplish the goal of getting you the help you need. A lawyer’s case evaluation is dependent upon the quality of information you present. Although the following items are not required, each can be helpful at the time of appointment, if available. The items include:
- The mother’s health and prenatal records;
- The mother’s hospital records;
- The baby’s hospital records;
- The baby’s well-care visit records;
- Electronic fetal monitoring strips from the time of labor and delivery;
- The baby’s Apgar (appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration) score;
- The baby’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) records;
- Procedures performed during labor and delivery;
- Test results, diagnosis, and information on any associative conditions;
- School records, especially Independent Education Plans (IEP) for your child.
You should not worry if these documents are not available at the time of the initial consultation. If an attorney feels you may have a case, and does not see an initial reason to decline the case during the initial fact investigation, he or she may seek client permission to order the medical records on your behalf for further review.
You should include any other items that were requested by the lawyer’s office at the time the appointment was made. A pen and paper. To make notes during the meeting for review at a later time is helpful, as well. Your initial reactions are most important. You are acting for your child, struggling to get him the resources to live a full life, so pay attention to your gut reaction about the lawyer and how you think he will aid you in your quest.
The purpose of an initial consultation
The main purpose of the initial consultation is for the lawyer to assess whether he or she feels the case has merit to pursue Lifetime Benefits through litigation. The lawyer also will ascertain whether the law firm has the appropriate resources available to litigate the case. Both you and the lawyer will evaluate the potential relationship for trust and competency. Important elements to establish include:
- Communication process;
- Timetable expectations;
- Litigation process;
- Fee structure;
- Payment options;
- Expense responsibility.
In the initial meeting, you will provide the lawyer with a broad overview of the case. This is the opportunity to tell your story and find an attorney who will fight along with you to restore the egregious wrong done to your child. The inquiry will focus on the mother’s health before, during, and after the pregnancy, the baby’s health, and medical records from the pregnancy, labor, and delivery, as well as general health care. These elements assist the lawyer in determining merit and potential to successfully litigate the potential case.
You may also want to ask questions of the lawyer, such as:
- Was a mistake made? Can it be proven;
- Is there a legal claim to be made;
- Are there any statutes of limitations that affect the ability to pursue litigation;
- What are the chances of successfully litigating the case;
- At this point, what is the estimated value of the case;
- Are there any caps on awards or settlements of which I should be aware;
- How long will the process take;
- What is the process;
- What are the fees;
- How does the billing process work;
- How are expenses handled;
- When is payment expected;
- How is the attorney to be paid? When;
- How are attorney communications handled.
Legal fees and cost structures should be agreed upon in writing before legal services are provided. Birth injury cases typically operate on a contingency basis, meaning the law firm receives a portion of the final judgment instead of requiring the client to pay fees during the process.
I generally offer contingency fee agreements to clients, as parents facing the devastating consequences of a birth injury and managing the special needs of their child often are unable to afford other fee structures. Court costs and other additional expenses of the legal action usually must be paid by the client. The percentage fee will be computed before or after expenses are deducted from the recovery in accordance with state laws.
Other lawyers may charge an hourly rate for their services. It is vital that you know what additional fees you may be responsible for throughout the process, as well as when and how they are to be paid upon settlement or award.
For more information, contact Stern Law, PLLC
When you have done all that you can possibly do to ensure the health, safety and wellness of your child, you deserve better from the medical professionals who you expected to keep you and your child safe. Medical negligence is absolutely unacceptable, and that is why I have focused my legal practice on educating the public about the severity of the issue and working towards preventing birth injuries moving forward. I encourage you to review my website, which is your trusted resource for valuable information regarding birth injury litigation. I also invite you to contact me at 800-462-5772, or complete an online contact form should you wish to discuss your child’s case further.
- Initial Consultation
- Dispute Resolution
- Medical Legal Review
- The Litigation Process
- Fee Structure
- Myths: Birth Injury
- Frequently Asked Questions: Birth Injury