To file a lawsuit against a doctor, victims of medical malpractice should begin by consulting a medical malpractice attorney. Together with their attorney, victims can compile the right evidence to hold the negligent healthcare provider responsible for substandard care. Gathering evidence, retaining expert witnesses, negotiating a settlement, and presenting a case in court are all steps a medical malpractice victim may need to take to have a successful lawsuit.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit against a doctor requires careful consideration and adherence to legal procedures. If you believe you’ve suffered harm due to a doctor’s negligence, follow these steps to initiate a lawsuit:
Retain a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The first step is to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer. During a free initial consultation, the lawyer will assess the merits of your case, review your medical records, and determine if you have a valid claim. Then, your lawyer can help you complete the rest of the steps in the medical malpractice lawsuit process.
Gather your medical records, test results, prescriptions, and other documentation tied to your case. These records will provide crucial evidence in establishing the doctor’s negligence and the resulting harm. They will also help you prove the losses you sustained and support the value of your settlement.
Obtain Expert Witnesses
Medical malpractice cases often require the help of expert medical opinions to establish the standard of care that should have been followed and whether it was breached. Your lawyer will consult with medical experts to provide professional insights and opinions about the negligent doctor’s actions.
Notify the Doctor
Before filing a lawsuit, some states require you to notify the doctor of your intention to sue. Your lawyer will send a notice detailing your allegations and intent to pursue legal action. In response, the doctor’s insurance company may initiate settlement negotiations.
File a Complaint
Your lawyer will draft a formal complaint that outlines the allegations against the doctor and the damages you’ve suffered. This complaint is then filed with the appropriate court, initiating the legal process.
Participate in Discovery
Both sides engage in the discovery process. During discovery, both the plaintiff and defendant exchange information and evidence. Depositions, in which witnesses are questioned under oath, are common during this phase.
Negotiate a Settlement
Your lawyer will work to secure a fair settlement that covers all your damages. If a settlement is reached, the case may be resolved without going to trial. If a settlement isn’t reached, your lawyer will prepare for trial. This involves refining the legal arguments, selecting witnesses, and crafting a strategy to present your case effectively in court.
Go to Trial
During the trial, both sides present their evidence and arguments to a judge and jury. Expert witnesses are called to testify, and your lawyer will work to establish that the doctor’s negligence caused your injuries.
After hearing all evidence, the jury will deliberate and deliver a verdict. If the verdict is in your favor, you’ll be awarded damages. However, either party may appeal the decision if they believe legal errors were made during the trial.
Filing a lawsuit against a doctor is a complex process. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer can guide you through each step, ensuring that your rights are protected and you have the best chance at receiving compensation for your injuries.