Medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most arduous and painful cases a person can deal with. Each year, over eighty-five thousand cases are filed across the United States related to misdiagnosis, surgical errors, negligence regarding pregnancies, and the failure to properly prescribe and administer medication to patients. After being physically and financially injured by the negligent actions of a medical professional, the injured party must then endure a lengthy legal process that can take years before it fully completes. In the event that you find yourself in this unfortunate legal situation, it’s important to understand what these lawsuits entail so that you can fully prepare yourself for the process that awaits you in pursuing the compensation you rightfully deserve.
What Constitutes a Claim?
In order to file a claim, there are key details that need to be established in every medical malpractice case. First, you need to establish that you had a relationship with the doctor in question. This involves proving that you actually hired the practitioner who caused you injury, which is easily done with proper medical records. Unfortunately, you then need to prove that it was the actions of the doctor that resulted in the injury or illness that occurred. This can be harder, because as Nolo.com points out, there are situations where it can be difficult to prove that the negligence of the medical practitioner was the primary cause of the plaintiff’s ailment. For instance, in the case of a terminal illness, there is difficulty in proving that the actions of the doctor could have reasonably prevented the cause of death.
The Discovery Process
The discovery process is the first step of any medical malpractice lawsuit and begins shortly after the claim has been filed by the plaintiff. This entails gathering medical records and witness statements for both the plaintiff and the defense, which can be incredibly time consuming. As Cuthbertlaw.com points out, this process can take up to a year to complete, as both parties must undertake the necessary steps to analyze all of the available evidence and begin building their case. This is also a crucial component for your personal injury lawyer to determine what type of settlement you might be entitled to in the event that your case doesn’t go to trial.
The Majority of Cases End in Settlements
Although the logistics and payments for each medical malpractice case are different, one thing that’s certain is that the overwhelming majority of these lawsuits never reach trial. As Alllaw.com notes, 93% of medical malpractice cases end in a settlement, while only 7% of cases are determined by a jury verdict. That being said, earning your compensation is still a process that can take years to complete, which is why it’s important to remain patient at every stage of the case to ensure that you’re able to obtain proper payment for the financial and physical injuries you’ve endured at the hands of your medical practitioner.