Although every case of medical negligence is different, there are specific steps to take in a medical malpractice lawsuit that you need to know before proceeding. At Gold, Albanese & Barletti, we’re dedicated to you and your case to ensure you get the compensation and justice you deserve.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical Malpractice happens when a doctor, hospital, or any other medical provider fails to meet the qualified standard of care within their medical community and causes harm to the patient. To be explicitly clear, the Standard of Care entails what a doctor would do with the same patient under the same circumstances. The most common medical malpractice claims are:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
- Failure to treat.
- Prescription drug errors.
- Surgical or procedural errors
- Childbirth injuries.
Step One: Consult An Attorney
The first step in a case of medical malpractice is to meet with a lawyer. The injured person and their family will meet with an attorney so the attorney can understand all the facts and learn why the injured party thinks that the doctor, hospital, or other health care professional or organization was negligent. Often, people may not believe they have a case or may be embarrassed about thinking the doctor did something wrong. Additionally, within New Jersey, there is no upfront cost to discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney regarding your case.
Step Two: Investigation & Pre-Trial Phase
Preparation is essential. During the investigation phase, the attorney will review all related materials, medical records, hospital records, doctors’ records, visiting nurses’ records, and anything else that can help the attorney figure out what could have gone wrong. During your search, look for an attorney with a medical background that will be a significant benefit as they can easily understand the medical records. After gathering all the information, the attorney will contact one or more medical experts.
Step Three: Court & Discovery
At the tribunal, the plaintiff must submit an offer of proof. This proof can include medical records, hospital records, and expert letters regarding the case’s merits. If the panel favors the plaintiff, the lawsuit can proceed. Then the parties will move into the next phase of litigation, which is discovery. Discovery is the stage of litigation in which the parties have the opportunity to obtain relevant information from each other. The parties can request documents and other pertinent records from each other. During discovery, the doctor’s attorney will depose the injured party (questioned under oath). The doctor will also be deposed by the injured person’s attorney, who will generally ask questions about the care the doctor provided to the patient, what went wrong, and other relevant issues.
Step Four: Settlement
Medical malpractice cases can be timely and costly, so most cases are settled out of court. Medical malpractice insurance companies reject a significant portion of claims. It may be in your best interest to resolve your settlement or risk having no case. However, if you believe you have a solid basis for your claim, you should seek more considerable compensation.
Step Five: Trial
The trial begins with a jury selection from a pool of potential jurors. The jury selection process varies, some judges allow attorneys to question potential jurors directly, and others do the questioning themselves. Once the jury is selected, the parties move on to opening statements. At that time, your attorney will give the jury an overview of the case from your perspective and tell them what they can expect to hear from various witnesses while subtly advocating your position.
Once your case has been presented to the jury, your attorney will “rest,” and the defendant’s team will be allowed to present their case or move for dismissal, which is the defense’s process to ask that your lawsuit be “thrown out.”
Your attorney will have a chance to cross-examine any witnesses the defense calls. In the deliberation process, the jury attempts to decide who wins the case. Once the verdict deliberation has occurred, the losing party may have a right to an appeal or ask the appropriate higher court for permission to appeal. If the defendant is granted an appeal, the damages awarded during the trial’s deliberation will not be paid to the plaintiff until the request is resolved and the final judgment has been rendered. Upon entering a final decision, you may begin collecting damages, if any were awarded.
Contact Us Today For Your Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, you deserve justice and fair compensation for your injuries. Since 1997, the personal injury attorneys of Gold, Albanese & Barletti have established a legacy of justice for our clients. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to get maximum compensation for your injuries. There are no upfront legal fees and we don’t get paid unless you win your case. Contact us today to learn more.