Case Process of a Howard County Medical Malpractice

The following is information on the various steps involved in the medical malpractice claims process and what you should know about them if you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim. To learn more or begin your claim, call and schedule a consultation with a Howard County medical malpractice lawyer today.

Step 1: Investigation

The first thing you want to do, as an attorney with a potential medical malpractice case, is conduct a very detailed investigation of all of the particulars of the alleged malpractice. This means obtaining the complete patient file from the doctor or hospital where the alleged medical malpractice took place and obtaining the medical records from any medical providers who provided treatment to the patient following the alleged medical malpractice.

Once you get those records, you want to review them very thoroughly and attempt to pin down exactly what the departure from the accepted standard of care for that procedure is.

Step 2: Find An Expert Witness

Then you want to screen and hire a medical expert in that field who can support your theory of medical malpractice to a reasonable degree of medical probability. In order to proceed with a medical malpractice case you will need to have a medical expert testify that the defendant doctor departed from the accepted standard of care.

Step 3: Submit a Settlement Demand Packet to Insurance

Once you’re able to secure that expert testimony, you will lay out the theory of liability and the damages sustained and submit a settlement demand packet to the insurance company for the defendant’s doctor. Then you will be able to begin to negotiate a settlement to resolve the case.

Step 4 (If Necessary): File a Claim

If an agreeable settlement cannot be reached then the Plaintiff will file a claim form and complaint with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. Within 90 days of filing the complaint and claim form a plaintiff must file a certificate of merit and expert report from a medical expert supporting the claim of medical malpractice. If after a hearing before the panel of arbitrators, the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office finds that there was no medical malpractice the plaintiff can then file his or her claim in the Circuit Court.

An injured party can also elect to waive the arbitration hearing. Even if a waiver is elected, an injured party wishing to pursue a claim for medical malpractice they still need to file a claim form, complaint and certificate of merit and expert report.

Step 5: Proceed to Discovery

Once the case is filed in the Circuit Court then discovery will proceed, wherein interrogatories and requests for production of documents are exchanged by each party involved. Following that paper discovery the parties will take party depositions and other fact witness depositions.

After the fact depositions are taken, each party has the option to take the deposition of each expert witness used to support their theory of the case. The defendant will also most likely request that the plaintiff submit to an independent medical exam. At any point the parties can engage in settlement discussions. If a settlement is not reached, the final step in a medical malpractice case would be to proceed to a trial before a judge and jury.

Howard County Medical Malpractice Attorney