Premier Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorneys Take You Through the Phases of a Lawsuit
Understanding each step toward getting compensation
According to a 2007 study by the Department of Justice, it takes an average of 27.5 months to resolve a medical malpractice case once it is filed. That number includes settlements out of court and jury verdicts. This extensive timeline may seem intimidating, but the attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm focus exclusively on medical malpractice cases, dedicating our focus and resources to helping victims of medical negligence receive the compensation they deserve. We work with you one-on-one through the entire process, from the initial consultation until compensation is awarded.
The eight phases of a medical malpractice suit
Malpractice occurs for many reasons, including negligent care, failure to diagnose, miscommunication, and failure to obtain informed consent. As a result, there are many facts which must be proven, and those facts change depending on the type of malpractice claim that is being filed. Regardless of the type of claim, however, most malpractice attorneys follow the same process as they work toward securing damages for your injuries and suffering.
Starting from your initial consultation, our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys look at the facts of your case and obtain all relevant medical records from doctors, hospitals and other involved parties. The goal of this phase is to determine whether you received negligent care and whether you suffered injuries as a result of that care. This phase is critical to the process, because it helps determine whether it is worth your while to file a claim.
If we believe there are grounds for a claim, our attorneys prepare and file a lawsuit on your behalf. This typically includes the filing of a sworn affidavit from a medical expert supporting the case. The defendants also file their responsive pleadings, outlining their preliminary defenses at this time.
Paper discovery. Also called written discovery, this is the first part of pre-trial preparations. Both parties send written questions to the other, which must be answered honestly, under penalty of perjury. Parties also request any additional documents, which are relevant to the case and must reveal any documents they have obtained regarding the case.
Before the trial, lawyers from both sides interview witnesses – including the opposing parties – in order to gather more information and to see how the witnesses may respond to certain lines of questioning at trial. This also gives lawyers a better idea of each witness’ personality, appearance and other factors that may affect a jury’s impressions.
Expert disclosures. Pertinent medical records and transcripts of depositions are typically sent to experts in the particular fields involved in the case. These experts then give their opinions on whether to push to trial or agree to a settlement, as well as what strategies might be employed during a trial. These experts and their opinions must also be shared with the defense, and there must be an opportunity for the defense to depose these experts, while we do the same to theirs.
Negotiations and trial preparations. With all documentation and witnesses in order, both sides now consider whether to negotiate for a settlement. Settlements are typically for reduced compensation, but eliminate the uncertainty of a jury verdict or judge’s decision when going to trial. If the parties cannot agree on a settlement, then the case proceeds toward trial, and witnesses are scheduled to attend trial for questioning. Exhibits, statement of counsel, visual aids and witness interrogations are prepared, as well as cross-examinations for the defense witnesses.
The case is presented before a jury and judge, with attorneys for all parties presenting their facts, questioning and cross-examining witnesses and making statements regarding the validity of the malpractice claim. The jury then finds in favor of the claimant or the defendant. If the verdict is for the claimant, the jury also determines an appropriate amount of compensation.
Post-Trial. After the jury reaches its verdict, each side has an opportunity to consider whether to seek an appeal. A successful appeal usually is based upon a significant error of law made by the judge in the case. If an appeal is successful, a new trial usually is ordered. If no appeal is filed, the jury’s verdict becomes final.
Not every case proceeds precisely as outlined above. For example, in the right situation, we will seek to obtain a settlement after the investigation phase and before the lawsuit is even filed.
Schedule a free consultation with experienced Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys if you have questions about filing a claim
A lawsuit can be a time-consuming, complicated matter, but the medical malpractice attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm assist you every step of the way. We serve malpractice victims in Cleveland, Lorain, Columbus, Toledo, Akron and all of Ohio. Call us at 216-687-0900 or contact us online to discuss your case and determine your best course of action to recover compensation.