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How Does A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Work?

by Louise W. Rice

Being put in a situation where you feel neglected and taken advantage of by the people who should be taking care of your medical needs is difficult itself. However, if such actions endanger your well-being, then they may be liable to a medical malpractice lawsuit!

The medical malpractice attorneys would typically let you know that the judicial procedure could be expensive and mentally or emotionally draining. But don’t let that deter you because things would only worsen if things aren’t handled accordingly.

Step 1: Consultation

Before filing a legal case against the medical professionals who had wronged you, you must first look for medical malpractice lawyers and appear for a consultation with your lawyer.

This ensures that you’ll be able to tell the story of the injured individual so that the attorney could identify the facts and inform the family of the legal grounds about the party’s concerns about the hospital’s performance, doctor, organization, or other health practitioners.

If you’re lucky enough to meet with a lawyer experienced with similar cases, then they could potentially help you weigh in if your instincts could have saved you from long-term injuries. Sometimes, cases could be severe without the party’s knowledge.

Step 2: Investigating

Once your lawyer has determined that there was an anomaly to your doctor’s actions, that is when they’ll begin the preparation.

It’s the critical phase because this is where your attorney would collect and review your medical records, visiting nurses’ records, doctors’ records, and other significant documents that could point out that medical malpractice took place.

Some lawyers have extensive backgrounds in the medical field in some situations, which typically helps them review the accumulated materials. If they also deem it necessary, they may even interview a couple of hospital staff to get to the root of the problem.

On the other hand, if they don’t have this advantage, your lawyer would contact one or more medical experts to verify the findings. These people could be either professors teaching for hospitals or heads of surgery.

To send a copy of their review, the expert would write a letter that backs up the plaintiff’s claim, thereby allowing the attorney to request a tribunal.

Step 3: Approaching the tribunal

The tribunal comprises an attorney, judge, and a physician who would need to be informed about the case before being called on to mediate.

As the tribunal, they would hear both the plaintiff and the defendant’s party then consider preliminary evidence to identify whether there’s sufficient basis to support the plaintiff’s decision to proceed with the trial.

Hence, the plaintiff’s party would be required to submit an offer of proof by providing the letter from the experts, hospital records, and their medical records. If the panel finds itself in favor of the evidence, a lawsuit would be encouraged only if the party posted a $6,000 bond.

Step 4: Discoveries

Discovery is the phase where the parties would get relevant information from each other through sharing documents and having the plaintiff be questioned under oath by the defendant’s lawyer.

Similarly, the defendant would also be interrogated by the plaintiff’s attorney, such as the general care that the doctor provided for the patient, what went wrong in the procedures conducted, and other issues that may arise.

Step 5: Settlement/Trial

A settlement would mean that the plaintiff has decided to drop the case if both parties have reached a mutual agreement by paying the plaintiff a considerable amount of money for the damages.

Although this was unsuccessful, the case would likely end up in trial, where both parties would present their arguments in court. Moreover, experts hired by the parties and the judge would be the ones to decide if the medical practitioner has made a grave mistake.

If the results were favorable for the plaintiff, then it’s likely that the doctor would lose their license, get into jail, or pay a huge sum of money as a fine.

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