Medical malpractice cases are complex and can take several months or years to resolve. Below, we discuss the steps involved in medical malpractice cases and how much time it may take to reach a resolution. We recommend contacting a Silver Spring medical malpractice lawyer from Goldberg Finnegan for a free consultation to discuss your situation.
Steps Involved in a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases are intricate and involve many stages. Having an experienced lawyer to aid you through this process and help validate your claim is highly beneficial. Each case is unique, but these are generally the steps involved:
Investigation and Review of Medical Records
Your medical malpractice lawyer will conduct an initial investigation into your claim and determine if negligence was involved during your medical procedure. This stage involves collecting medical records from the health care provider you believe committed medical malpractice and requesting additional medical records from prior and subsequent health care providers to better understand your medical history and course of treatment.
Hiring of Medical Experts
One or more medical experts need to be hired, including one that specializes in the same area of medicine as the at-fault health care provider. He or she will review medical records and heavily research your situation. The medical expert will then provide his or her opinion about the appropriate standard of care under the circumstances, how the medical provider may have violated this standard, and how this violation caused your injuries. The medical expert also submits a certificate of merit and a report that will explain how the health care provider violated the standard of care and how that led to your injuries.
Often, medical malpractice lawyers will attempt to resolve a claim prior to filing a lawsuit. However, obtaining a settlement before a lawsuit is filed is exceedingly rare in a medical malpractice case. The amount of time it takes to reach a settlement varies by case. If liability is clear-cut, the claim may be processed more quickly. Generally, the more complex the case, the longer it may take to reach a settlement. If there are complex medical issues, medical experts on both sides may have competing testimonies.
Filing of a Lawsuit
If your attorney cannot reach a settlement with the medical provider, your medical malpractice lawyer can file a lawsuit. Your lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations runs out or it will be barred. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is typically 3 years. In rare circumstances, the statute of limitations may be 5 years. This may seem like plenty of time, but each stage of the process can take months or years.
Discovery is the formal process in which the parties involved in a lawsuit exchange information to learn about the legal claims and defenses that will be presented. Written discovery will be exchanged and witnesses, including the expert witnesses designated by both sides, will be deposed.
If the case has not been resolved, it will proceed to trial where your attorney will present your case and the at-fault party will attempt to refute it. There are many issues that can delay the resolution of a medical malpractice lawsuit, including:
- A large number of witnesses
- Court dockets being crowded
- Difficulty obtaining medical records
- Difficulty scheduling depositions with busy doctors
Contact a Licensed Lawyer for Help
To get a better idea about the potential timeline of your medical malpractice claim, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan. We can walk you through the claims process and discuss your legal options at each stage. We charge no upfront fees and provide a free consultation to review your claim, so there is on harm in reaching out to our team today.