Process of a DC Medical Malpractice Case

The process of a DC medical malpractice case begins with a pre-suit. When someone believes they are a victim of medical malpractice they should not wait three years to call a lawyer. A person needs to call a distinguished medical malpractice lawyer after discovering harm because it takes time to conduct a proper investigation. The medical records must be obtained and sent to an expert. The expert needs time to review the records and prepare an opinion that what happened was malpractice.

Malpractice Statute of Limitations

It is possible that someone did not realize that a doctor left something inside of them during surgery five years previously until it until it got infected five years later. If that is when the person became aware of the malpractice, that may be where the statute of.

When someone is a minor or is mentally incompetent, the statute of limitations can be extended. It is three years from the date of the malpractice. The statute actually says from the time the right to maintain the action accrues. The statute of limitations is usually three years from the date of malpractice or three years from the date the person reasonably should have become aware of the malpractice.

Preparation for Trial

The process of a DC medical malpractice case takes considerable time because a lawsuit involves many steps. Once the lawsuit is filed, the doctors and/or the hospital answer the lawsuit. They file a document where they deny everything and make demands for records and send interrogatories. The plaintiff and their attorney answer the demands and the questions in the interrogatories.

With demands for records being served, the court sets an initial scheduling conference state. A discovery schedule is set and the lawyers obtain the person’s medical records from before and after the accident. They get documents such as photographs, videos, CT scans, x-rays, and things of that nature. Both sides exchange reports from their experts that identify what happened; the malpractice; and the cause.

Timeline of a Case

When the case begins, both sides present their opening statements. The plaintiff goes first because they have the burden of proof. The defense attorney will then give their opening statement. The plaintiff puts on their case which usually consists of the plaintiff, doctors, medical experts, and any other experts such as economists, vocation and rehabilitation experts, or life care planners to prove damages. The other side will present their case which usually consists of including the named defendants on the stand, any witnesses to the alleged malpractice, and their experts.

When both sides rest their case, the judge orders summations and both sides present their closing statements. The defendant goes first in closing statements and the plaintiff goes last. The judge gives the jury instructions and the jury deliberates until they reach a verdict.

Utilizing Expert Witnesses

Both parties have right to depose each other’s experts during the process of a DC medical malpractice case. Expert medical witnesses are used by both sides in a medical malpractice case. The court may order a mandatory mediation to try to settle the case. When the case is not going to be settled, the court sets a pre-trial conference to discuss the case and the lawyer prepares a pretrial order. That includes all the evidence they plan to use in addition to the exhibits and witnesses that the lawyer plans to bring into the trial. A lawyer makes a report for the judge and the judge usually sets a trial date four to six months after the pre-trial.