A lawsuit is a process with a starting point and an end. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to know what this process is. This will give you a better idea regarding what to expect.
Hiring An Attorney
The first step in this process will be to hire an attorney to represent you. You should look for an attorney that has experience with medical malpractice lawsuits as they see more cases like yours than any other kind of lawyer. Your case will only start once you have an attorney.
Investigation And Medical Record Review
After you hire an attorney,like Little Egg DWI attorney, Pepe and Wintrode, they will complete an investigation into your condition and the medical treatment you received. They will obtain your medical records and the bills relating to the malpractice. It is important to note that this investigation process can take months to complete.
During the investigation, your attorney will hire a medical expert to provide a second opinion. If this expert believes that there was malpractice, they will later serve as a witness for you. In order to go to trial, you will need to have a medical expert who practices in the same field as the defendant and who has reviewed your case.
The Lawsuit Is Filed
After the investigation, your attorney will file the lawsuit which is also called a Writ or Complaint. The filing of this lawsuit will start the clock on the case. However, every state has different pre-trial procedures and it can take between 1 to 3 years for your lawsuit to reach a trial.
Once the lawsuit has been filed, your attorney may have to submit an Offer of Proof or an Affidavit of Merit. This is not required in all states, but it will be needed before any pretrial investigations occur. The purpose of this document is to show that your case does have merit and is a legitimate medical malpractice lawsuit.
If an Offer of Proof is needed, this will be approved by a judge and the discovery phase of the lawsuit will start. This is a process where each side of the lawsuit investigate the claims and defense offered. Document requests will be sent and depositions will be taken of all the witnesses in the case. It is possible for discovery to last a year or longer, but this will depend on the deadlines set by the court.
Mediation And Negotiation
Following the discovery process, talks about settlements will generally start. These talks will be held between your attorney and the defendant’s attorney. If the settlement cannot be agreed by the attorney’s, mediation will start where both clients and attorneys will be present.
Going To Trial
In most cases, mediation will be the end of the process. However, if this does not work, the case will be scheduled for trial. The trial can last a week or more depending on the state. In many states, trials only last for half the day which increases the time spent. The trial may be rescheduled and not start on the date originally stated. This is done due to anything with the case, but based on the schedule of the judges.The most important thing is to find a medical malpractice attorney that suits your needs and case.