Zofran Birth Defects: Finding a Qualified Law Firm to Represent You

Published on June 30, 2015 by

There are times when an ambitious person can well represent himself or herself in the legal system. For instance, if you’re writing up a simple will, you could just use a template from Nolo.com to write the will. If you get into a minor fender-bender that leads to no major injuries, you could handle the insurance company negotiations on your own.

However, when it comes to cases involving serious birth injuries or heart defects such as those caused by the use of Zofran, you really want to find a qualified attorney to represent your interests. Be choosy about which law firm you select. Given the rash of legal actions that have commenced against GlaxoSmithKline, you will probably see a lot of advertising over the next several months regarding Zofran related claims.

  • How can you sort through potential firms?
  • How can you know whether you might have a claim?
  • How can you work well with the law firm you choose to obtain fair results and also reclaim your dignity and protect your health and your family?

Absent context, it’s difficult to know whether you have a case. You could be underestimating your need for help. The costs of surgeries to repair your baby’s facial deformity could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, for instance. Or you might be overestimating your case. For instance, perhaps your baby’s birth defect could be traced to a genetic abnormality instead of to Zofran. That’s why context is essential. Speak with an attorney if there’s any ambiguity; there’s no harm in at least calling.

To sort through prospective attorneys, first, obtain references. You can use the internet, TV, personal referrals from friends at work, etc. Take time to think through the principles by which you want to govern the search. Why do you want an attorney? What are you hoping to accomplish? What are the essential values that you want the lawyer to have and demonstrate?

Here’s a useful exercise to that end. Imagine how a relationship with an attorney might go wrong, and then define your values in opposite terms. For instance:

  • I’m worried that the attorney will ignore me or treat me like “just a number” translates into the following value: The attorney treats me with compassion and his or her team answers my questions and meets my needs.
  • I’m afraid the attorney will pressure me into taking action I don’t want to take translates into the following value: The attorney listens and respects what I want.
  • I worry that the attorney might be under-qualified to help me translates into the following value: The attorney has strong credentials – for instance, he or she is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by their state licensing board and/or is AV rated by Martindale Hubble.

Once you have these principles outlined, review the candidate lawyers’ websites and other materials, and winnow your list of prospective firms down to about three. Then set appointments for a free case evaluation. Before your evaluation, write down any questions you have about your case, about the process, or about the firm’s history and qualifications. Write down the answers you get.

During your evaluations, pay attention both to substance of the conversation as well as to your intuition. Do you get along with the attorney and his or her staff? Do you feel comfortable with the values that animate the law firm?

Ask about fee arrangements. In mass tort cases, attorneys often work on what’s known as a “contingency” basis. This means that you only pay for legal services if the attorney wins a settlement or achieves a verdict for you. In that case, you pay a percentage of this amount.

Once you have chosen an attorney, get to know the law firm’s processes and people.

To save time, develop the habit of writing down your questions on paper (or on a Word document) whenever they occur to you, so that you can “batch ask” them to the attorney. In addition, you might find it useful (starting immediately) to compile any relevant evidence, including doctor’s notes, a written timeline of events, written witness accounts, and so forth.

Lastly, develop strategies to deal with other needs -- financial, emotional, psychological, logistical, etc. -- so that your entire life isn’t on hold while the legal process plays out. After all, depending on the nature of your injury and the size and scope of your legal action against GSK (or some other liable party), you may not get clarity about your case for months if not longer.

Avoid living life in limbo until this resolves. Work with people you trust -- such as your attorney, your financial advisor, your doctor, your personal trainer, your employer and your friends -- to manage various problems that have been raised or worsened by the injury, so that you can reclaim a degree of calm and control over your life.

To explore the possibility of bringing legal action right away to obtain compensation for Zofran-related birth defects, please call the experienced attorneys here at Marc Whitehead & Associates, LLP at (855)-423-3666. For more information regarding Zofran please download a copy of our free E-book, The Zofran Tragedy.