Being the victim of medical malpractice is always incredibly stressful. Hiring an attorney to help you win compensation can create additional worries. We understand how intimidating it can be if you’ve never dealt with the hiring process before, so we’d like to help you understand what you’re about to go through. First, you’ll consult a law firm and choose a medical malpractice attorney. Next, your attorney will guide you through the steps below.
What to Expect After Hiring a Medical Malpractice Attorney
1. The Case Assessment
The case assessment is the first thing that comes after hiring a top medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland. Your attorney will ask you questions about your case, such as:
- How long did it take your doctor to reach a diagnosis?
- What incorrect medication were you given?
- How long has this doctor been treating you?
- Have you ever had problems with this physician/hospital before?
They’ll also ask you to detail every aspect of your illness and treatment so they can truly begin to understand what went on in your case. Your attorney will tailor these questions to your circumstances. They’ll require different information depending on what type of malpractice you’ve come up against. Types of medical malpractice include:
- Late diagnosis of something a more competent physician would diagnose easily
- Incorrect treatment of your ailment
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries
2. The Payment Discussion
You might feel as though the scariest part of hiring an attorney is finding the funds to pay. Lawers are notoriously expensive, but they’re well worth that price. However, the expense isn’t an issue with malpractice lawyers. They don’t ask for money upfront. Instead, they ask for a contingency fee. This is what’s commonly referred to as “no win, no fee.”
Lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis are very careful and selective with their clients. They won’t take on a case they don’t think they can win. This is because their payment is taken out of your settlement. If a lawyer operating on a contingency fee basis takes your case, then you know you have an excellent chance of walking away with a fair settlement.
3. The Examination
You’ll have to go to another physician for a medical assessment before you can officially file a claim against the doctor who wronged you. The physician who asses you must be an expert in your issue and currently be working as a doctor or teaching medicine. They’ll determine the current diagnosis and compare it to what occurred when dealing with the offending practitioner.
The individual who examines you will back up your claim of medical malpractice and provide an affidavit of merit. This is vital when building a winning case.
4. The Claim
You can file a medical malpractice claim once you’ve undergone the medical assessment described above. This will involve a lot of paperwork, and it must be done within a certain timeframe. The Maryland statute of limitation states you must claim for your injury within five years of the injury occurring or within three years of you discovering the injury.
Thankfully, your attorney can help you with this part. They understand the paperwork required and how to fill it out. They’ll file the claim with the county in which the malpractice took place. The defense will have 30 days for the defense to accept or deny the case.
5. The Investigation
Once your claim is filed, it’s time for your attorney to investigate and compile evidence to back up your case. Your attorney will use medical records, photographs, and witness testimonies to build a case against the physician and potentially the hospital involved in your case. They also take any previous claims or complaints against the physician or hospital into account.
Building a winning case that thoroughly proves you’ve been the victim of malpractice will get you the settlement you’re entitled to. Make sure to provide as much information as possible to help your attorney with this part of the case.
6. The Defendant Accepts the Claim
If the defendant accepts liability for the malpractice, then you’ll begin negotiations with insurance companies to be paid what you’re owed. Your attorney will be able to determine how much are entitled to based on your physical injuries, emotional damage, future medical costs, loss of work, medical bills, and more.
The insurance company will often try to offer you a lower settlement than you’re entitled to. Your attorney will then have to negotiate with them until they offer you a fair amount. If you can’t come to an agreement, then your case may have to go to court. However, most malpractice cases can be settled without going to trial.
7. The Defendant Denies the Claim
The defendant can deny the claim of medical malpractice if they don’t feel they’re at fault. Don’t worry if this happens; you’re not out of luck. In this case, your case can go to trial, and you can fight to prove you’re entitled to a settlement. Your attorney’s courtroom experience will be invaluable here, and with a great case, you can win that settlement.
Medical malpractice cases are quite complex as there are usually multiple parties involved. You need a professional to help you build a winning case. However, an excellent attorney will make the process seem straightforward once you get the ball rolling.