When doctors start practicing medicine, they take an oath to help their patients to the best of their abilities. It is unfortunate that many doctors are now breaking their promise. Medical malpractice can have several causes. Maybe the doctor was overworked and exhausted, or the nurse made a mistake on your chart. Nevertheless, all of it points to negligence.
If you were injured due to a doctor’s negligence and decide to file a lawsuit, a detailed timeline of a medical malpractice case could help you understand what to expect in the process. A law firm in Miami handling medical malpractice claims can help you get started.
Timeline of a medical malpractice lawsuit
- Finding a lawyer.
The first step is finding a skilled and experienced medical malpractice attorney who has the resources and knowledge to fight your case, gather essential evidence, and maximize your chances of winning by building the best defense.
- Investigation of medical records.
Your attorney will review and analyze your medical records from the hospital that allegedly caused your injuries. They will go through the documents word by word to determine what and where things went wrong and who is to blame.
- Hiring expert witnesses.
Your lawyer may hire a medical expert witness working in the same field as the defendant. A qualified expert can provide valuable opinions about the healthcare provider’s misconduct.
- Demand and negotiation.
Your lawyer may try to settle the case without going to court by sending the defendant a demand letter explaining the situation and supporting documents. If the defendant accepts their mistake and agrees to pay, the case settles right then and there.
If the defendant disagrees to pay compensation in the previous step, your attorney will file a lawsuit. The document that begins a lawsuit is known as a Complaint.
- Offer of Proof/Certificate of Merit.
In many states, you are required to submit an Offer of Proof of Certificate of Merit along with the Complaint when you file the case. This document confirms that a licensed physician evaluated your situation and that you have a reasonable claim.
In the discovery phase, your and the defendant’s attorney will have the opportunity to seek information from each other. They may ask questions from each other and request any relevant documentation, such as records of your medical history.
The parties may decide to bring a third, neutral party to help them arrive at a decision when they cannot do it themselves. The mediator does not make the last decision but listens to both sides and suggests an option that may benefit both.
The case goes to court. Both the parties will present their arguments and evidence before the jury and the judge. The court will analyze the facts and evidence and enter a judgment.
Legal proceedings can be complex. Medical malpractice can be particularly complicated, and one with no legal knowledge should not endeavor it alone. If a medical provider has injured you, contact an attorney.