5 Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case
Finding the right lawyer to represent you in a medical malpractice case is the first thing you have to do if you suspect that a doctor was negligent in their delivery of healthcare to you. Once you bring your medical malpractice case to a lawyer, there are certain steps that the case has to go through before going to trial. This includes consulting with a medical malpractice experts witness. The list below provides an overview of each step.
1. Consultation with a Medical Malpractice Expert Witness
Once the lawyer decides that you have a strong case, he will need the assessment of a medical expert witness. Lawyers with experience usually have a list of witnesses they can call at any time, so this process shouldn’t take too long. If your case proceeds to court, then a witness is mandatory because the jury will need the medical details explained accurately by a medical professional.
2. Investigation of Medical Records
The lawyer will begin by asking you for your medical records and bills and interview you on your present and past medical conditions. They will also ask you about the treatment you received. This process is detailed, and it can take several weeks until the lawyer is convinced that there is indeed a case of medical malpractice.
3. Negotiation of a Settlement before Going to Court
Although it is rare, your lawyer might be able to negotiate a settlement with the doctor and hospital and avoid filing a lawsuit and going to court altogether. This is common in less complicated medical malpractice cases. In larges cases, the doctor’s insurance company will want time to conduct their own investigations.
4. Filing the Lawsuit
A lawsuit, also known as a Complaint in legal terms is filed by your lawyer setting forth the pre-trial process. This is the longest step in the process, and it could last up to 3years, so you need to be patient. After your lawyer files a lawsuit, they will have to accompany it with a Certificate of Merit. This is a requirement in most states. The Certificate of Merit, also called Offer of Proof states that the lawyer has consulted with a medical expert regarding the case and established that there is a legitimate claim of negligence. Please visit the JD.MD website for more information.
5. Discovery, Mediation, and Negotiation
At this stage, the two parties investigate each other’s claims and send each other questions to be answered by each side. After this, the negotiations will start. This is where your lawyers will seek fair settlement for you. If the mediation and negotiation phase is not successful, then the case will go to trial.
Medical malpractice cases are long and tiresome, and some people are tempted to quit before the case goes to court. To get justice, however, you will have to be patient.