Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Process
Medical malpractice lawsuits are lengthy, complicated, and rarely follow a perfectly prescribed path to a final settlement. The medical malpractice attorneys at Richard J. Plezia & Associates attempt to move the medical malpractice lawsuit process in a forward motion, informing their clients throughout their cases. While the length of each medical malpractice case can vary, there are five steps that apply to most all malpractice cases:
- Initial Investigation
- Filing Suit
- Pretrial Discovery
- Negotiation and Settlement
- Trial Preparation and Trial
Step 1: Initial Investigation
The initial investigation looks to answer two core components of medical malpractice causation: “Was someone negligent in providing care, and did an injury result from that negligence?”
Medical negligence is defined as the careless acts of a medical provider that led to injury. Medical negligence can happen in many areas of medicine, including:
- Birth Injuries
- Nursing Homes
- Emergency Rooms
- Medical Devices
- Drug Interactions
The initial investigation will focus on linking the negligence with the injury sustained by the patient. Evidence from medical records and expert review will help the medical malpractice lawyers at Richard J. Plezia & Associates decide how to move forward with filing a lawsuit.
Step 2: Filing Suit
If the initial investigation reveals a strong link between negligence and a patient injury, and expert medical opinion supports the established link, our medical negligence attorneys in Houston, Texas will file a lawsuit on behalf of the client and copies of the papers will be served on the defendants. Our attorneys prepare our client for the next steps of the process and try to estimate a timeline for the case.
Step 3: Pretrial Discovery
Pretrial discovery allows time for both parties to obtain evidence. In the medical malpractice lawsuit process, pretrial discovery happens through written discovery, depositions of the parties and lay witnesses, and depositions of the expert witnesses.
Experts in medical malpractice are given the written discovery and transcripts of depositions. These materials allow the experts to confirm and finalize their opinions concerning the case. The defense is allowed to move to strike these experts should it find their testimony questionable. After the completion of pretrial discovery, both parties move toward negotiation and settlement.
Step 4: Negotiations and Settlement
Most medical malpractice cases end in a settlement and do not go to trial. The negotiation and settlement phase involves serious discussion between the attorneys for both parties. Clients are informed of all negations and have full say in how to proceed with their cases. If negotiations stall, both sides may look to mediation or arbitration as a way to reach an agreement. Both forms of alternative dispute resolution can be excellent techniques to resolve matters without a trial, and in many cases, the court will require the parties to go to mediation before allowing a trial to proceed.
Step 5: Trial Preparation and Trial
If negotiation, mediation, and arbitration can’t settle a case, the case will be set for trial. Trial preparations are made for our client and experts. Countless hours are spent organizing visual aids, opening statements, questions for witnesses, and closing arguments. While no medical malpractice lawyer can guarantee the outcome of a lawsuit, the attorneys at Richard J. Plezia & Associates can guarantee the very best for our clients. We protect the rights of our clients and represent them within the ethics of the law. Contact us today for more information about the medical malpractice lawsuit process.