While many people trust doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to provide the highest quality care possible, unfortunately, this trust is not always honored. If you or a loved one has been injured at the hands of a medical professional’s negligence, you may have grounds to take legal action against those responsible in pursuit of full and fair compensation for your suffering. But what exactly is the process involved with filing a medical malpractice claim, and how long will it take?
A typical medical malpractice claim involves the following steps:
- Hiring an attorney: Your first priority should be to find a skilled lawyer to represent your case. Like any sort of legal matter, pursuing a medical malpractice claim can be an extremely complex endeavor and is not one you should consider handling alone. Once you have met with several attorneys and choose one who offers the quality representation and fee structure you desire, your case will begin.
- Investigation: Oftentimes, the first thing your attorney will do is to search through your medical records and bills related to the alleged malpractice and interview you regarding your treatment, how you were treated, and the medical consequences you suffered. Acquiring and sifting through the necessary documents can potentially take months to complete. If there is enough evidence to suggest you have a valid claim, your lawyer will proceed.
- Hiring medical experts: If your lawyer believes you have a valid claim, they will usually move forward by searching for and hiring expert medical witnesses to support your case. Most medical malpractice cases must have a medical expert as a witness in order to go to trial, usually in the form of a doctor or medical professional who practices in the same area as the defendant being sued.
- Demands and negotiations: A vast majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court before they reach the litigation stage. In the case of medical malpractice cases, however, this is less common. In many larger medical malpractice claims, medical insurance companies are often unwilling to negotiate a settlement until after a lawsuit has been filed.
- Filing a lawsuit: If negotiations are not on the table, a formal complaint or writ will be filed with the courts against the responsible party. It may take anywhere from a year and a half to three years from this point before your case moves towards trial.
- Discovery: If approved by a judge, litigation begins. This will commence a phase called “discovery,” in which both parties investigates the opposition’s legal claims and defenses through depositions, interrogatories, witness testimonies, and document subpoenas. Depending on the court’s specific deadlines, discovery can last a year or more.
- Mediation and negotiation: As discovery draws to a close, many lawyers will open lines of communication and consider negotiating a settlement. This may be as simple as each side’s counsel speaking with one another, or it may involve formal mediation with the assistance of a neutral third party.
- Trial: If mediation is not successful, the case moves towards trial. Assuming the case is not delayed due to scheduling conflicts, once it is placed on the court’s docket, the actual trial phase may last a week or longer.
Fight for Justice with Rash Mueller.
If you or a loved one has been injured at the hands of a medical professional, Rash Mueller. can help. With millions of dollars in recoveries and more than 25 years of proven legal experience, our Miami medical malpractice lawyers understand the strategies necessary to guard your rights and help you pursue maximum financial restitution for your and your family’s suffering.
Dial (954) 914-7116 or contact our office online today to discover your legal options.