After you have hired your medical malpractice lawyer, you should expect that he (or she) will meet with you to obtain as much information as possible regarding you and your medical history, your medical care leading up to the medical malpractice incident, the medical malpractice incident itself (including all witnesses and all health care providers involved with your medical care that led up to the medical malpractice incident), to learn how the negligent medical care affected you in all aspects of your life, to determine your injuries and damages as a result of the medical malpractice, and to obtain your signature on medical information release forms so that your medical malpractice lawyer can obtain your medical records, medical information, and medical bills.
You may not hear from your medical malpractice attorney for a period of time after your initial, in-depth meeting because he will be sending medical records requests to various medical care providers to obtain your medical records. Many medical malpractice attorneys will mail to you a copy of all correspondence that he sends from his office as well as a copy of all correspondence he receives regarding your medical malpractice claim so that you remain informed as to the work being done on your case and so that you may call your medical malpractice lawyer if you have any questions regarding the status of your claim.
Once your medical malpractice lawyer receives all relevant medical records and medical information, he will likely send the materials to one or more medical experts to review the documents and render his expert opinion with regard to the medical care you received (or failed to receive) and whether the health care provider(s) breached the standard of care required of them with regard to your care (the definition of “standard of care” may be different in different states but in general the standard of care is that level of care that a reasonably competent health care provider in the same medical field or profession would provide under the same or similar circumstances in the same or similar locale). It may take weeks or even months for the experts to get back in touch with your medical malpractice attorney to give him their opinions whether your health care provider(s) breached the standard of care in your case. If you have any questions while waiting for your lawyer to contact you, or if simply want to know the status of your medical malpractice claim, you should feel comfortable in contacting your lawyer.
Once your medical malpractice lawyer receives a favorable opinion from the expert regarding your claim, your lawyer may contact the negligent health care provider and/or his malpractice insurance company to see if your claim can be settled without having to file a formal claim either in court or with the appropriate forum in your state. If your claim cannot be settled to your satisfaction, the next step is usually to file the formal claim (some states require, at least initially, that the claim be filed with an arbitration forum).
We will discuss what typically happens after the formal claim is filed in our next blog.
If you need to find a medical malpractice lawyer in your local area for a possible medical malpractice claim, please visit our website to be connected with local medical malpractice lawyers or call us toll free at 800-295-3959. Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.