If you’re considering about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a physician or another healthcare professional, you might have to go through special procedural requirements.
State-by-state variations exist in these standards, which range from sworn testimony from a licensed medical expert to a pre-suit panel’s assessment of your claim. But if you believe you have a strong case for medical malpractice, those aren’t the only factors to take into account.
Speak with a medical malpractice lawyer right away.
A medical malpractice lawsuit is not one of the types of injury-related disputes that should be addressed without expert guidance. First and foremost, you must make certain that your case is submitted before the statute of limitations has run out.
While some states are tougher and start the “clock” as soon as the malpractice is committed, regardless of when you learn that you were damaged, The deadline for filing a lawsuit in your state should be well-known to an expert medical malpractice lawyer and must be honored.
Second, the fulfillment of pre-lawsuit requirements (medical expert affidavits, review boards, notices of intent to file suit) must be met for your claim to be allowed to proceed. State laws vary on these requirements. An attorney with experience in handling medical malpractice cases will have the experience and procedural knowledge necessary to position your case for success. Find out how to choose the best medical malpractice attorney for your needs and case.
Have copies of your medical records ready
The best evidence in a medical negligence case is typically medical records. You will be required to sign a release enabling your lawyers (as well as any defendants’ lawyers) access to your medical records due to privacy restrictions. By seeking a copy of your records as soon as you think you might have a case, you can jumpstart this procedure.
Delivering a copy of your records to your attorneys as soon as you can allow them to begin thoroughly examining your case and will also help them to get medical advice from any potential expert witnesses who are doctors, nurses, or other medical personnel.
After carefully reviewing your records, it is possible that your lawyer will advise against bringing a claim or state that your injuries might not have been caused by medical malpractice on the part of a healthcare professional. The sooner experts can examine your documents, the sooner you’ll know whether your lawsuit has a high chance of success.
Inform Healthcare Providers and Insurance Companies
Informing healthcare professionals and their insurance companies of a future lawsuit, whether formally or informally, is frequently beneficial. This type of notice will always prompt insurance coverage and internal review, and you may find that you may negotiate an amicable settlement before even bringing suit. In some places, this is a requirement before taking the matter to court.
Once more, hiring a lawyer is highly recommended since they will function as a professional barrier between you and claim specialists who may or may not opt to intimidate you or take a tough stance on your case. Even if this may only be a negotiation gimmick, it is nonetheless uncomfortable. In the end, the best course of action is to have a lawyer notify the other party of your intention to sue.
Pre-Suit Requirements must be met.
As previously stated, numerous states now formally mandate the pre-filing of medical malpractice claims. Pre-suit conditions are a further development of the tort reform movement that aims to speed up the legal process, promote settlement, and weed out meritless claims.
As a result, the majority of pre-suit guidelines call for some sort of expert testimony, usually in the form of an affidavit of merit (or a document with a similar name) that details the relevant medical standard of care that was allegedly breached and the injuries that followed.
Submitting a complaint for medical malpractice
The actual preparation and filing of a complaint in civil court is the last stage in beginning a medical malpractice action. The claims made against the hospital and/or defendant doctors are formally stated in the complaint. The litigation officially starts after the complaint has been submitted. For further information, here is an example of a typical timeline provided by All Law of typical medical negligence litigation.