When you go to a doctor, you expect to receive competent care. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our diligent and hardworking Syracuse malpractice attorneys will evaluate your case and provide you with a realistic assessment of your claim, including timelines in your case.
The length of each medical malpractice case can vary significantly based on the specifics of the case. Some factors that affect the length of the case are the case’s complexity and factual strengths, as well as the court of jurisdiction. A medical malpractice case must go through a number of stages prior to being resolved. The following describes the stages of a typical medical malpractice suit in New York.
The Initial Consultation
If you suspect that you have been harmed due to the error, misconduct or wrongdoing of a medical professional, the first thing you need to do is reach out to a seasoned attorney. During the initial consultation, the lawyer will ask you a series of questions such as the medical condition that you were seeking treatment for; the treatment you actually received; and the physical, emotional harm you suffered. The lawyer will also ask you when your injury occurred, as there are strict deadlines to filing medical malpractice claims in New York, known as the statute of limitations.
Prior to filing any lawsuit in court, the attorney will usually conduct a vigorous investigation of your case to make sure it is meritorious. This process can take several weeks depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the information needed to make a proper evaluation. This stage also involves consulting with a medical expert – normally, a physician who practices in the same area of medicine as the defendant doctor.
Filing the Lawsuit
If the attorney chooses to move forward, a lawsuit will be filed in civil court. The document that sets forth the allegations in your case is known as the complaint. The complaint along with a summons, or order to appear in court must be filed in the county where the malpractice occurred. These documents must be served on all defendants who are named in the lawsuit.
Once a lawsuit is filed, all parties engage in an official investigation process known as discovery. This stage allows each party to request documents (i.e., medical records, depositions, affidavits, etc.) and information from the other party. This phase can take months to complete.
After discovery, attorneys representing an injured plaintiff will usually try to send a demand letter to the defendant summarizing the case against them and setting forth the compensation that is being sought. This will generally include past, present and future medical expenses, lose wages, pain and suffering and more. In most cases, medical malpractice cases will settle out of court because neither side wants to go through a lengthy and expensive trial.
When a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. At trial, each side presents its evidence and arguments to the jury, which renders a decision on the case. The burden of proof at trial is on the plaintiff (the party filing the case) who must establish each element of malpractice by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This process can take months, even years.
If you or someone close to you has been injured by a medical professional’s negligence, we can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our experienced Syracuse seasoned medical negligence attorneys are well versed in every stage of a medical malpractice lawsuit. You can rest assured that we will examine your case and help you understand your rights every step of the way. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns. To speak to a member of our team directly, call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us online.
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