Medical Malpractice AttorneyJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
A medical malpractice attorney helps clients with claims regarding injuries they sustain due to mistakes made by doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, technicians, and other medical professionals and health care providers. Those mistakes can include surgical errors, birth trauma, injuries from inappropriate treatment methods, misdiagnoses, unnecessary delays in treatment, or a failure to get proper consent for treatment from a patient. Medical malpractice attorneys are a type of personal injury attorney. Many of them specialize in a specific kind of medical malpractice, like birth injuries, nursing home abuse, or dental malpractice.
Basic knowledge of human anatomy, biology, and standard medical terms is helpful for medical malpractice attorneys, as they will frequently have to collaborate with, and take depositions from, medical professionals and experts. They also have to analyze clients’ medical records to help reconstruct what happened. A medical malpractice attorney also needs to have expertise common to most legal positions, such as written and verbal communication, research, and negotiation.
Sample job description
At [Your Company Name], our clients depend on our medical malpractice attorneys to have their back. They depend on us to consider all details of their medical experience and to fairly and confidently represent them and their needs when developing their malpractice lawsuit. It is our duty to make them feel comfortable, and fight for everything they deserve in compensation for medical mistakes or malpractice. We are seeking an experienced medical malpractice attorney to join our team. You need to have excellent verbal and written communication, strong research skills, analytical skills, familiarity with medical terms, and negotiation skills. We are searching for someone who is passionate, responsible, professional, and who keeps the clients’ needs at the forefront of everything that they do. If you are willing to fight for our clients’ rights and help fight against medical malpractice, then we would love to hear from you!
Typical duties and responsibilities
Advise and counsel clients on matters relating to injuries sustained during medical or dental care
Consult with medical experts to develop case theories and review medical records
Write and file claims, motions, and court briefs
Litigate medical malpractice cases in court if necessary
Negotiate settlement terms with defendants and their insurance companies
Education and experience
This position requires a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where the candidate will work. Board certification from the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA) is preferred.
Required skills and qualifications
Expertise in written and verbal communication
Knowledge of state and federal medical malpractice laws
Basic knowledge of medical terms
5+ years of experience working in medical malpractice
Proven success in winning malpractice cases
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a medical malpractice attorney is $130,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
Medical malpractice attorneys typically work in offices. When they are not in the office, they are traveling to meet with clients or attending any necessary meetings at the clients’ homes, prisons, hospitals, or wherever need be to gather all the information they need and of course the courts. Attorneys have to be able to work well under pressure and stress as they need to meet certain deadlines.
The work hours in an office setting for a medical malpractice attorney are usually from 9 AM to 5 PM. However, many attorneys work more than 40 hours a week, especially when nearing deadlines or preparing for court proceedings.
There are many certifications available for medical malpractice attorneys. Here are just a few:
American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys Certification (ABPLA). The ABPLA is the only organization authorized by the American Bar Association to approve attorneys who are involved with legal malpractice and medical malpractice. This certification is well known and you are recognized as a leader in negligence law.
MEDIC First Aid BasicPlus-G2010. This certification trains you in CPR, AED, and first aid. This helps you in case you ever need to medically care for someone. Renewal is required every 2 years.
Board Certification in Criminal Trial Law. This certification extensively tests your knowledge when it comes to your education and courtroom experience. Obtaining this certification is a beneficial thing. Renewal is required every 5 years.
Board Certification in Civil Trial Law. This certification extensively tests your knowledge when it comes to your education and courtroom experience. Obtaining this certification is a beneficial thing. Renewal is required every 5 years.
Medical malpractice attorneys are required to have a Juris Doctorate from an accredited law school and a license to practice law in the state where they work. College coursework in areas like biology, anatomy, physiology, health care law, personal injuries, and related subjects is helpful and can make candidates more attractive to employers. Obtaining board certification from the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), which often requires passing a written exam, continuing legal education courses, and getting references from other legal professionals in the field, can make a medical malpractice attorney stand out.
Most attorneys start in law firms as associates, then progress on either a partner or non-partner track, leading to positions as partners, senior attorneys, or of counsel.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 23-1011
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
Medical malpractice claims are one of the most regulated types of legal claims. Many states cap the amount of money a client can win in a medical malpractice case, and the movement to reform many laws governing torts — especially when it comes to injury claims like medical malpractice — continues throughout the U.S. These state laws can change frequently. A medical malpractice attorney needs to stay on top of those changes.
The personal injury law field — including medical malpractice — is a crowded one. Medical malpractice attorneys should be aware of marketing and advertising trends in the field to make themselves or their firms stand out. According to several legal marketing companies, including the web marketing firm Digital Logic, billboards, buses, and television ads are no longer the best ways to market a medical malpractice law firm. Instead, the industry is trending toward more professional, comprehensive websites with lots of information for potential clients searching for a personal injury attorney. This information can include adding virtual web assistants like chatbots on the site to help potential clients and obtain basic information about their needs.
Sample interview questions
What are the 4 Ds of malpractice?
How familiar are you with medical knowledge?
What’s your experience with taking cases to trial? What’s your percentage?
Do you have any certifications that can benefit you as a medical malpractice attorney?
Are you recognized by any national organizations?
What made you choose this career?
What do you enjoy the most about this job? What do you enjoy the least?
What skills do you think are the most important to obtain as a medical malpractice attorney?
As an attorney, what results have you achieved in previous cases?
How did you choose your area of law?
How many years of experience do you have as an attorney?
What are your fees like?
Do you work well under stress and pressure?
What would you say motivates you?
How do you decide which work to prioritize?
Has there ever been a time when you didn’t meet a certain deadline?
Are you proficient when it comes to medical terms?
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