How Long Does a Medical Malpractice Case Take?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on February 28, 2019
When you suffer from an incident of medical malpractice, you can find yourself paying for expensive medical bills, losing out on hours of work, and suffering from lifelong consequences, such as permanent disability or loss of quality of life. When you file a lawsuit to recover these damages, you want to receive your compensation as soon as possible. However, medical malpractice settlements vary in length depending on the complexity of your case and extent of your injuries.
The Medical Malpractice Timeline
Each medical malpractice case will have a unique timeline and take different lengths of time to reach settlement. The standard timeline of a medical malpractice case involves the following steps:
- First, you will find and hire a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney. Due to the complex nature of these cases, you do not want to represent yourself in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Next, your lawyer will conduct an investigation into the circumstances of your case. He or she will conduct interviews with you to learn about your condition, experience, and treatment. Your attorney will also collect all necessary evidence involved in your case, such as medical records and bills. This process can take a few months to complete.
- Then, your attorney will consult with medical experts to determine if your doctor committed an act of negligence. Your attorney will likely have a network of medical experts who he or she has worked with in the past, enabling you to find an expert relatively quickly.
- Next, your attorney will ask you if you would like to negotiate your settlement with the medical professionals in your case. While courts settle most malpractice cases, you can negotiate outside of the courtroom if your doctor agrees to it. However, the first settlement offer you receive may not be a sufficient amount.
- Next, your attorney will file your lawsuit with the civil court. It could take anywhere between 1.5 years to 3 years for your case to reach trial.
- Next, your attorney may need to file an Affidavit of Merit or Offer of Proof to prove that your case could be a legitimate medical malpractice case.
- After judge approves the Offer of Proof, you enter the discovery process. Both parties will investigate the defenses and legal claims, request documents, send questions, and take depositions. This process can take over a year.
- Next, you could enter the mediation and negotiation process to attempt to settle the case out of court.
- Finally, if you deny mediation or do not reach a fair settlement, your case goes to trial. Medical malpractice trials can last over a week. The jury will determine your settlement amount at its conclusion.
What Could Increase the Settlement Timeline?
Usually, the more complex the medical malpractice case is, the longer it will take for you to reach a settlement. However, you should not rush into a settlement agreement without speaking to an attorney – the first offer you receive may not be sufficient to compensate for your injuries.
Certain factors can increase the length of the settlement process.
- The number of parties involved in the case
- Not hiring a medical malpractice attorney to represent you in the courtroom
- A large number of witnesses, including medical witnesses
- Complex or novel medical issues
- Complex or novel legal issues, including complex liability
Hire an Attorney for Your Medical Malpractice Case
Very few factors can speed up the medical malpractice timeline. However, hiring a medical malpractice attorney will reduce the amount of time you spend waiting for your settlement. Medical malpractice cases can be incredibly challenging to prove, requiring testimony from medical experts, careful review of key pieces of evidence such as medical records, and crafting a strong case to prove that the medical professionals in question are liable for your injuries.
Hiring an attorney ensures that you file your paperwork correctly, within the right timeline, and without errors. In addition, an attorney will have the resources and knowledge necessary to launch an investigation into your case. For the most efficient settlement process, enlist the services of a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.