In a perfect world, jury trials are easy; you do everything by the book, so do they, and the judge or the jury decides purely based on the merits or the case. Ideally, your lawyers win the case. Unfortunately, that perfect world exists in exactly two locations: movie and television sets. And in some cases, they didn’t even exist there.
In reality, cases can get messy. An expert medical witness gets tripped up on cross-examination, a minor flaw in a case becomes a gaping credibility wound, or lawyers make all-too-common errors and put the case in jeopardy; these are just a few of the ways an open-and-shut case can get derailed. If you have a medical malpractice case, you need to be on the lookout for these common and avoidable mistakes.
Poor Preparation by Your Lawyer
Medical malpractice cases are complex and messy. They possess a lot of details and required steps, from initial discovery all the way to final argument, that must be done completely or the case can be lost. Having a lawyer that is unprepared because they do not understand the scope of the case happens all too frequently and leads to mistakes.
For example, the medical-legal consulting advice they receive might not be correct, but if they are not thoroughly familiar with the case, they may not catch it until it is too late. Be on the lookout for your lawyer grasping the case, but not the finite details.
Unprepared Medical Expert Witnesses
An expert witness can make or break a case. An expert witness that is misapplied or is not ready for trial can sink a case faster than legal cases unravel in Hollywood movies. Your expert witness needs to not only know the ins and outs of their industry, but they also must understand the technical details of your case and be presentable in a trial.
Those three requirements frequently are neglected and the result is a case that in the best case scenario is merely not helped by a medical malpractice expert and, in the worst case, severely hurts your chances for victory. Your medical expert witnesses must be thoroughly prepared and practiced before they say anything on your behalf.
Your Legal Team is Arrogant or Unprofessional
One of the most underrated aspects of lawyering is using people skills to get other people—in this case, a jury—to trust you. Some attorneys come across as too “folksy” to be authentic. Others come across as arrogant. Many are condescending.
Juries can see right through all of that. They can pick up on whether a lawyer is to be trusted, or is someone they would not like. While that should never influence a judge or jury, it is only natural that we more readily trust people that we like. That is just human nature. If your lawyers have a perception problem, that can hurt your case as much as if your medical legal consulting services give you the wrong medical malpractice expert, or if your star witness comes off as shady and untrustworthy. Perception, particularly in a courtroom, matters.
In a trial, your legal team making some pretty basic mistakes—like not preparing your expert medical witness properly, for example—can cause your case to call apart quickly. You, and each member of your team, must put your best foot forward through each phase of the trial in order to have a good chance at winning.