Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case
If you believe that you or a loved one may have a medical malpractice case, or are currently involved in one, you may be curious as to what is involved. Medical malpractice cases can be lengthy and have the potential to go through up to five steps before they reach a verdict.
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers injury or harm due to the negligence of a licensed medical professional. Negligence can occur in a variety of ways, including misdiagnosis, lack of diagnosis or poor surgical or medical care.
Learn more about filing a medical malpractice case with this guide from Kaplan & Lukowski.
Step 1: Initial Investigation
The first step in any malpractice case is a thorough investigation. This may include interviews with you about your medical condition, treatment and history. The first thing that must be done is to gather all of the pertinent medical records. Once we have all the information available concerning your case, it will be carefully reviewed by one of our experienced attorneys. They will look through all the information to ensure that the documentation suggests that a healthcare providers gave negligent care to the client, and that the negligent care the client received directly resulted in injury.
If there is sufficient evidence of medical negligence resulting in injury, the information will be further reviewed by an expert in an appropriate field of medicine. This person will serve as an “expert medical witness” for the case and will need to verify that, according to their medical opinion, negligence occurred and was the cause of the victim’s injuries or damages.
Step 2: Filing a Claim
If the expert medical witness’ findings are congruent with the accusation that the medical professional acted negligently, your attorney will prepare a lawsuit, also known as a claim, and file it with the court.
Step 3: Pretrial Discovery
During pretrial discovery, the legal counsel for both sides sends written questions to be answered by their opponents. These questions must be answered truthfully in writing, under penalty of perjury. They must also turn over any documents or information they have regarding the case for the other side to review.
This is also the step when general and expert depositions occur. A deposition is a testimony given under oath, similar to what you give in court, but is not presented in front of a judge or open courtroom. Depositions give each side the opportunity to know who is going to give testimony at trial, and what they are going to say, in advance to allow them to prepare.
Step 4: Negotiations
Of the medical malpractice claims that go to trial, the great majority of them end with verdicts in favor of the doctor or healthcare provider, and many are settled before going to trial. This is because most insurance companies prefer to settle cases they believe they may lose out of court.
If a settlement is not reached, both parties can agree to try mediation, where a negotiator works to help them settle the dispute, or arbitration, in which both sides agree on a neutral party to decide the case.
Step 5: Trial
The last step of any malpractice case would be preparing for and completing a trial. Preparation for trial includes arranging testimonies, making exhibits, conducting focus groups, and preparing opening and closing statements.
At the end of the trial, a jury that has heard all the facts concerning the case will give a verdict and damages may be awarded.
Contact our Atlanta Area Malpractice Lawyers
If you believe that a healthcare provider’s negligence caused you injury, the attorneys at Kaplan & Lukowski can guide you through each step of your possible malpractice case. If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, we will do whatever we can to recover fair compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses. While no one can guarantee a result, we can guarantee that we will fight for you.
To schedule your free consultation with our Atlanta personal injury attorneys, please call (404) 845-0012, or fill out our online contact form.