When you come to think about it, after doing some extensive research on the topic, you will notice that the medical malpractice injuries usually vary widely. You will never find two identical medical malpractice lawsuits; there must be something small different about them. The one thing that you will notice always stays constant is the lawsuit processes which the medical malpractice lawyers take part in. Below are ten steps that medical malpractice lawsuits undergo, and they may end up taking years before the whole process is complete. Your medical malpractice lawyer should be able to guide you effectively through every process.
- Initial consultation
In the initial consultation between you and your medical malpractice attorney, you are always at liberty to ask questions and also provide all the information that you believe is relevant to your case. Your attorney may also ask you a couple of questions about the events that occurred that led to your injuries that were caused by the medical practitioners. This is also the time to check whether the statute of limitation period has run out or if you are still within the time-frame.
- Gather records
After the initial consultation, your attorney will require you to sign a contingency fee agreement and a retainer. You will also be required to make available all your medical records. You need to know that these records can sometimes take up to a year to be recovered.
- In-house investigation
An in-house medical team will be assigned to your case. This team will look for any and all violations of the standards of care and how each of them relates to your injury. At this stage, your attorney will also attempt to identify all the potential defendants and also attempt to find out whether your case can be pursued in the court.
- Select expert witnesses
This step requires you to line up all the expert witnesses that you can find in the medical field that will support your case. These expert witnesses use the detailed reports about your case to prepare expert opinions about it.
- Pre-trial phase
The case will then move to the pre-trial phase which can sometimes go for up to 18 months or even more. This is the period that your team will use to gather more evidence about your case, take up any depositions, and also try to resolve any legal issues that may arise.
- Settlement negotiations
At the pre-trial phase, the defendant may decide to approach the plaintiff or vice versa to reach a settlement offer. You are allowed to reject any of these offers if you think that they are not reasonable.
We get to this stage if no settlement is agreed. Most of these trials are held in front of a jury, but there are some that are only heard and handled by a judge. Most medical malpractice cases last between one and four weeks in the trial phase, depending on the nature of your case.
- Jury deliberations and the verdict
It is now the work of the jury to go through the evidence provided and reach a verdict. And if they do so, then the verdict is usually read in the open court alongside the award amount. If, in any case, the jury fails to reach a verdict, a mistrial is always declared on the case.
- Post-trial motions and appeal
After the verdict is made, the losing party has the right to appeal the decision made by the jury or even try to convince the judge to grant a new trial.
You get to this stage when your case is settled. Here, you will sign an agreement that will release the defendant from any future liability. This means that the case is closed for good and that you cannot reopen it in the future if in any case, your condition worsens.