Determining if you have duffered medical malpractice
Medical malpractice is a complex area of legal practice. In order to even successfully bring a case, you are required to meet certain basic requirements.
What does the medical expert do?
When you go to a lawyer to find out if you have a medical malpractice claim, the lawyer will get your medical records. It is through reviewing these records that your lawyer can begin to determine if you have a case. Your lawyer will also hire a medical expert to review your records. That medical expert will normally be a doctor practicing in the same field as the person who injured you. The expert will write a report for the lawyer.
If a medical expert is not willing to state that the other doctor violated the medical standard of care and caused your injuries, you won't be able to sustain a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York. This is because all three states require a certificate of merit. This is a document that states that the expert agrees that the doctor harmed you and in doing so, violated the basic medical standard of care.
What happens during my case?
As your suit goes forward, your lawyer will continue to gather all of your medical records and other data about how you are doing. He will file a complaint with the court on your behalf explaining the doctor's failure to properly care for you and how it caused you harm. Your lawyer will work with you to collect information about how your injury impacted your life. For example, are you able to work, and if so, how much time did you miss? Are you in pain? How are you emotionally? How has your family been affected. Each of these issues will become part of your case.
You will go through discovery, which is the process during which your lawyer (and opposing counsel) schedules and completes depositions (essentially interviews under oath) and gets access to all relevant and necessary documentation.
As time passes, your lawyer will likely try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If he is unable to do so, then your case will go to court and to trial.
Your case may go all the way through trial and result in a verdict, or your lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement at any point. Sometimes cases settle right as trial is about to start.