Timeline of a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases can take a long time to wind through the courts system. What’s the timeline of a medical malpractice case? Read on to see the anatomy of a medical malpractice case.
Finding the Right Attorney
This cannot be overstated. It is essential to find a highly skilled attorney experienced in medical malpractice cases to handle your claim. Consider what types of questions you would want to ask a potential attorney. For instance, what kind of experience with medical malpractice does he or she have? How will your attorney track down medical experts to testify in your case? And most importantly, are you and your attorney a good fit together?
The next step that will occur is your attorney will attempt to gather as much information as possible about you, your medical condition, and your claim. The attorney will acquire all medical records, bills, etc. in order to learn everything there is to know about your case. It is at that point that your attorney will be able to tell you if you have a medical malpractice case or not.
The Claim Is Filed
Your attorney may file your claim at this point. He or she will do so by filing a document called a complaint with the court.
At this point, your attorney might engage in negotiations or making demands from the defendant to settle the case and protect your rights and interests. Most medical malpractice cases never go to trial and are in fact settled or withdrawn. In fact, up to 93% of medical malpractice cases end before trial, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a program of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Finding an Expert
The next thing your attorney will do is find an expert to testify on your behalf. To have a viable medical malpractice claim, you will need to show that a medical professional behaved negligently and that the behavior didn’t rise to the level of the standard of care expected of a similar professional with similar credentials in a similar situation. A medical expert will testify to these facts on your behalf after examining your medical records and producing a written report with his or her findings.
At this point in the timeline, your attorney and the defense’s attorneys will conduct discovery. Discovery is the process by which both attorneys will collect records and ask questions of one another using lists of questions called interrogatories. You can expect to be involved in asking questions of the other side and in answering questions for them yourself.
Mediation and Negotiation
Here, your attorney will attempt to settle your case, often going through the sometimes mandatory process of mediation, in which both sides sit with a neutral third party and attempt to reach a resolution.
If mediation and negotiation fails, the next step is to put the case on the trial list for the court and prepare it for trial. A medical malpractice trial could last a week or more depending on the complexity of the case.
I Think I Have a Case. What Now?
If you or someone you know may have a medical malpractice claim, contact The Stanley Law Group. Call 803-799-4700 and set up a consultation with one of our Columbia personal injury attorneys today.