How to Initiate a Court Case for Medical Malpractice
There is no one way to initiate the procedures that ultimately end in a court case with a trial by jury or before a judge. However, some standard things must happen from the date of the incident leading to the day of the trail. The malpractice attorneys at the firm of Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. are skilled at preparing and litigating this kind of claim.
A lawsuit against a doctor, a hospital, or another participant in the medical profession is not the same as undertaking a legal event like renewing an automobile registration or buying a car. In the case of medical malpractice claims, you will need a malpractice lawyer, and that is the first step in initiating the journey to the courtroom.
The Lawyer’s Role
The first thing the lawyer will do is make every effort to know everything about you so that he/she can represent your position. He/she will review all the medical records and treatments that you have received, and also review all the bills, payments, and insurance claims that have been part of the medical review.
This is a very important step because if the lawyers find that your history and experience with the medical provider does not warrant further action, he/she will give you the bad news. This investigation can take months, and your lawyer will review the medical information from a strictly legal standpoint. Although months of work seems like a long time, a decision not to move ahead with a lawsuit at this time is really made early in the process.
Your lawyers will also work with you to hire expert witnesses who can testify on behalf of the patient. Your lawyer is looking for professionals in the medical profession who have a greater status than the person who is the defendant. This status question is critical to the courts because trying to refute the actions or decisions of a licensed professional with a professional with a combination of less training and experience will inhibit the forward progression of the case. Courts have been known to deny a court trial if this requirement is not met.
Movement Towards Trial
It is not typical for a medical malpractice lawsuit to be settled early by negotiating a settlement between the plaintiff and the defendant, but it does happen. A medical malpractice attorney at our law firm will be on the lookout for this opportunity and will also prepare to move towards setting a trial date.
The action that starts the suit running towards a trial is the filing of the lawsuit. If there is no negotiated settlement, the lawyers will file the lawsuit, sometimes known as a complaint or writ. This lawsuit will start a process that can take from 1-3 years to reach a court schedule so all of the information supporting the claim must be gathered and verified. This status is documented in the filing of a proof of merit before any pre-trial investigation begins. The proof of merit signifies that the claim is worthy of a review by the court.
Investigation, Discovery, and Negotiation
Once the Proof of Merit is approved by the judge then both lawyers begin to dig deep into the underlying information. This is what is known as Discovery. During this phase, each party’s lawyers will evaluate the facts and evidence of the opposing party, and they may even appear before the judge at various times to seek more information. This could take a year or more. Also during this phase the lawyers may try to reach a settlement based on their findings, and to avoid a court trial. Often, mediation at this phase will bring a resolution to the malpractice claim, and the litigation ends. However, if mediation does not work, the lawyers will request a court date. Once the court date is set the trail itself can take a week or more. There is always a lot of legal activity surrounding a court, and trials are usually scheduled to accommodate unexpected events.
We at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates P.C. specialize in the efficient and thorough investigation of all medical malpractice lawsuits that we handle. You can trust us with your claim because we will dig deep into all the underlying causes and bring you the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) to receive a no obligation consultation. We never charge a fee unless we win your case.