What To Expect From The Process of a Medical Malpractice Case in Fairfax

If you are injured due to medical malpractice in Fairfax the very first thing that is going to matter is how soon you contact a Fairfax medical malpractice lawyer. Typically, there is a two-year statute of limitations, so waiting a year and a half before contacting legal counsel is going to put you in a tough situation that might limit who will represent you. For this reason, the sooner you can get in touch with a lawyer the better.

With that said, there are a number of things you can expect when filing a medical malpractice claim in Virginia. Below is more on what you should be prepared for as you attempt to gain compensation.

Step 1: Providing Your Attorney With Medical Information

Assuming you contact an attorney in a timely manner, you should expect that you will have a few discussion with your lawyer and their support staff on your medical history and what happened that made you want to pursue a medical malpractice action. Generally, this also involves signing medical authorizations for the attorney’s office so that they are able to gather your medical records and begin reviewing your case.

You can expect at this stage that the attorney will be asking a lot of questions regarding your medical history, whether there are any witnesses that can discuss your case, and other factors pertaining to your claim. In Virginia this step may take a little longer than in other states because Virginia requires that a plaintiff have certification from a physician that a breach of standard care occurred prior to filing a medical malpractice complaint.

Step 2: Provide Notice to At-Fault Parties Insurance

Once the preliminary steps are done, the next steps will be to put the at-fault physician’s insurance carrier on notice of your claim. Doctors and their insurers are typically willing to fight these cases tooth and nail but they may also be willing to go to an early meditation to try and resolve the case if it’s clear that liability existed or if they believe they have an awful lot of risk on their side.

In most cases this process will include putting together a “demand package”  which includes a variety of things including:

  • Medical treatment necessary as a result of negligent care
  • Narrative of what the negligence was
  • Impact of the injuries

All of which is summed up in this package and presented to the defense insurance company in an attempt to negotiate a resolution to the case.

Step 3 (If Necessary): Filing a Lawsuit

If a resolution does not occur through the demand stage, then the next step will be to file a lawsuit. However, this does not necessarily mean that you are moving forward with the case at that time. Often you may need to file a lawsuit quickly in order to satisfy the two-year statute of limitations, however if you are still receiving medical treatment following that two year period it is wise to wait to proceed with your lawsuit as you do not yet know the full extent of your injuries.

On the other hand if your medical treatment is done within five or six months or some other short period of time then you can proceed with the lawsuit.

Step 4: Litigation

Once you get into the litigation process, there are general timelines that apply, but it really depends on the case. The timeline will vary on a case by case basis depending on the facts of each specific case. How long you can expect for your case to take is going to depend on how many defendants are involved, how much documentation is involved, how many sources of evidence may be involved, your prior treatment history, and the complexity of the medicine, among other things.

The discovery process enables the parties to obtain documents to develop the case as much as possible so that when it comes time for trial, the issues are narrowed down and you’re focusing on the actual disputed issues in a case.

If there are more documents, more defendants, it’s usually going to take longer to get to the case in a posture for trial. Depending on the county, there will usually be a somewhat strict scheduling order in place to dictate deadlines for the administration of the case. It’s really impossible to say without knowing the facts of any specific case how long a case might take, but it can be years before there’s a final resolution.

To learn more about the medical malpractice claim process or to begin seeking damages for your injuries, call and schedule a consultation today.

Steps to Building a Medical Malpractice Case in Fairfax