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Carol D. Carlson

Grand Rapids

Karen Dodson



Defending health care providers and facilities in a wide variety of medical malpractice cases for nearly 30 years, Carol has dedicated her litigation practice to achieving superior results while maintaining the highest professional standards. From pre-claim negotiations through trials and appeals, she offers creative, thoughtful representation focused on results.

Carol has defended doctors, hospitals and nurses in circuit courts across Michigan, as well as in federal court and the Michigan Court of Appeals. Specializing in cases involving birth trauma, nursing negligence, emergency medicine care and a variety of surgical areas, Carol has successfully defended cases from the most frivolous to the most complex.

Having achieved summary dismissal of dozens of cases following careful analysis of both legal and medical issues, Carol has also won numerous trials in front of diverse groups of jurors, on a wide variety of claims.

She is frequently invited to present seminars to healthcare providers to help them avoid being sued in the first place, or to deal with the consequences when a claim occurs.

Previous Experience


  • Michigan Society of Healthcare Risk Management (first attorney elected to the Board of Directors)
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • American Bar Association
  • Michigan Bar Association
  • Michigan Society of Hospital Attorneys
  • Defense Research Institute
  • West Michigan Literacy Center (Tutor)
  • Family Resource Council (Former Board of Directors)
  • Judicial Review Committee, Kent County
  • Board of Directors – Grand Rapids Civic Theater


  • Kalamazoo College (B.A., cum laude, 1980); Who's Who Amongst College and University Students, National Merit Scholar
  • Macalester College  
  • University of Notre Dame (J.D., 1987); Weber Award in Oral Advocacy, National Moot Court Team  


  • State Bar of Michigan, 1988


  • Listed in GR Magazine Top Lawyer - Medical Malpractice Law (2021)

  • Listed as a "Local Litigation Star" in Benchmark Litigation (2021)

  • Listed in Best Lawyers (2012-2021) -- Medical Malpractice Law

  • Listed in Leading Lawyers (2014-2017) -- Medical Malpractice Defense Law

  • Listed as a "Local Litigation Star" in Benchmark Litigation (2015-2017) -- Medical Malpractice Defense

  • Listed in Best Lawyer's "Women in the Law" (2017) -- Medical Malpractice Law

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