How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
There are many emotional considerations that go into a decision to file a medical malpractice action against a doctor or other medical professional who made a serious mistake, but the steps of actually filing a case are very straightforward and critically important.
Find the Right Attorney
One of the first things that a person who has been harmed, or who has a loved one who was injured or killed as the result of medical malpractice, is to find the right attorney. It is not simply a matter of finding a lawyer who is licensed to practice in the state in which the injury occurred. Medical malpractice cases require specific knowledge of what facts to present, what medical experts to retain, and how to build an effective case strategy. Something that might be even more important is finding an attorney who understands the suffering of the victim and his or her family. It is crucial to have a legal partner who fights for the rights of the injured while ensuring that everyone has the information that they need to be comfortable with the process. At Stern Law, PLLC, we are focused on the emotional as well as the legal needs of our clients and work tirelessly to get the right results for them.
During the devastation following a serious medical mistake, the injured parties often want some time to react to the new reality, but time runs out far faster than many people realize. Every state has a statute of limitations that restricts the time in which a medical malpractice action must be commenced. When this period has lapsed, it is impossible to get legal relief, no matter how egregious the harm. There is a lot of preparation that goes into the filing of a medical malpractice case, so there must be adequate time to do all the groundwork necessary to pursue a successful case, including finding a legal expert who can testify about the medical professional’s failure to adhere to reasonable standards for the specific circumstances.
Obtain All Records and Other Documents
The collection of evidence is one of the most critical steps in a legal malpractice case. The person who was harmed by the malpractice will have the easiest time obtaining the records from the medical professional and facility involved in the error. It is critical to request these documents as soon as possible in order to provide an attorney time to analyze the records and determine the best strategy. It also will be necessary to sign a release so that the medical malpractice attorney can follow-up with additional records. In the event that the victim of the malpractice was harmed to the point where he or she cannot obtain the records, a skilled attorney will take the release and obtain the documents on his client’s behalf.
Provide Notice to Associated Parties
Although it may not be strictly necessary, it usually is advisable to notify the medical professional, facility, and insurance providers about the potential suit. In many cases, this notification triggers an investigation into the facts of the malpractice claims. It may lead to a productive settlement negotiation, where a victim and his or her family can obtain the compensation that they need to pay bills, receive the right medical care, and make necessary changes to a home and/or vehicles. There are times when it is necessary to go to court, but in cases where a reasonable settlement will allow a family to move forward after a tragic mistake, it might be the best path.
Fulfill the Pre-suit Obligations
Depending on the jurisdiction in which the case is going to be filed, it may be necessary to obtain a medical certification of the merits of the malpractice claim, which requires a medical expert and a thorough review of the circumstances under which the harm occurred. In addition, it may be necessary to provide specific notifications in advance of filing the suit. It is imperative to have an attorney who understands the specific requirements of the jurisdiction in which the case is going to be filed because a failure to comply may lead to a dismissal of the lawsuit, with no opportunity to re-file.
Commence the Medical Malpractice Action
The filing of the case marks the beginning of the formal legal action. In most jurisdictions, this means that there is a complaint that is filed, although there are some states where there is an initial filing that acts as a form of notice and then a complaint is filed within a specific time period. The drafting of the complaint is complex because facts have to be pled in a specific way in order to present an effective case overview for everyone who will review the complaint. In order to maximize a victim’s chances of recovery, it is necessary to give an attorney as much time as possible to develop a strong case and summarize it in the complaint.
Stern Law, PLLC Works Ardently for Medical Malpractice Victims
Medical mistakes are an unfortunate regular occurrence. Although there are times when an error does not lead to serious harm, when it does, the consequences are usually devastating for the person who was harmed and his or her family. At Stern Law, PLLC, we know how much harm can be done when doctors and other medical professionals commit preventable errors. For more than 30 years, we have focused on getting the compensation that medical malpractice victims need to re-build their lives. In addition to advocating for our clients, we also prioritize being a resource for those who have been impacted by medical malpractice. We have people available to answer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone who has a question or concern. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.