Steps In The Medical Malpractice Process
Before we decide to take on any medical malpractice case, we need to review the merits of a claim by gathering evidence via a multistep process.
Gathering Information And Reviewing Your Case
Like many areas of law, we first must gather important information from you to evaluate and build your case. This includes speaking with you in detail and reviewing your medical records.
A Discussion With You About Your Medical Malpractice Case
During the interview, we will discuss the general events that transpired and the reasons that may have led you to believe that a medial error has occurred.
Our ultimate goal is to gather as much helpful information during our interview as possible, so we know exactly what to look for when examining your medical records and conducting appropriate investigative measures.
Reviewing Your Medical Records
Once we have a good grasp of the facts and believe your situation warrants further investigation, we will review your medical records.
In some situations, you will have the necessary documents in your possession to provide to us. In other scenarios, we will need to request the information from your healthcare provider (via a signed HIPAA-compliant authorization form). Once we obtain all of the necessary medical records pertaining to your case, our team will begin our review.
Utilizing External Medical Experts
If, after reviewing your records, there are issues worth exploring, we will turn over your records to an external medical expert team to analyze and offer advice and guidance on your case. In some instances, a case-specific expert is needed for further analysis.
Providing Notice Of Our Intent To Sue
If we believe your situation has merit, we will proceed with providing a “notice of claim” to each health care provider (known as defendants) who we plan to name in a possible future lawsuit.
The defendants will have the opportunity to respond to our notice within 30 days. If they choose not to respond, we will proceed with filing a formal lawsuit. If they do respond, they may request to conclude your case through mediation, a resolution process whereby parties settle claims outside of the courtroom.
If the parties are unable or unwilling to come to a resolution outside of court, we will litigate your case.
Going To Court
Litigating a case involves many steps. The first step includes filing what’s known as a complaint. A complaint is a court document that outlines the details of your claim, the alleged negligence that caused you harm and the damages we are seeking from the negligent party.
Once we file the complaint, the defendants will have 30 days to respond. Your case is then assigned a judge and a trial date is chosen. (This generally occurs 18 months after we file the complaint.)
Investigation And Discovery
The parties will then enter a phase known as “discovery.” This process allows the parties to the lawsuit to prepare for trial by obtaining information and gathering documentation needed for trial.
Depositions are one method we use to gather information. A deposition is a type of interview or testimony, conducted under oath, outside of court.
Once the discovery process concludes, the case proceeds to trial. Depending on the situation, a trial can last up to two weeks. At the close of your trial, the jury will render its decision.
Our Ultimate Goal
This document is intended to provide a general overview of the steps involved in a medical malpractice case. Such a case is very complex, and our attorneys are happy to provide more detail about any aspect of the process as it relates to your specific situation.