How Do I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
If you believe you have been injured because of what a doctor has done (or has not done), then you might have a valid medical malpractice case. Now what? How do you file a lawsuit?
In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you should contact an attorney who has substantial experience in medical malpractice law. There are some legal cases that people try to handle pro se – on one’s own behalf. This is not one of them. You should not attempt to handle your own medical malpractice case. This is not the kind of case that can be done properly without an attorney.
Pennsylvania medical malpractice law is highly specialized. Below are some of the important steps a medical malpractice attorney will take to file your lawsuit.
Your attorney will review medical records, health summaries, hospital notes, lab results, and all other necessary paperwork to fully understand the actions (and sometimes inactions) of the health care staff who may have been responsible for the medical mistake. It takes an experienced attorney to know how to analyze piles and piles of medical records and which pieces of evidence are key to the success of the case.
Comply with statutory requirements
Pennsylvania medical malpractice law can be complex. There are several important statutes that must be followed in order to successfully file your lawsuit. For instance, under Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations law, you have two years to file a lawsuit, starting from when you knew or should have known that your injury was the result of the defendants’ medical mistake. In the case of a deceased party, Pennsylvania law allows you two years from the official death date to file a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit. If you miss this crucial deadline, you lose the right to file a lawsuit. So, your medical malpractice attorney will have to figure out the best timing for filing the Complaint. In addition to the question of when to file the lawsuit, your attorney needs to figure out where to do so. Your medical malpractice attorney should spend considerable effort figuring out the best venue for your case. Several factors go into this analysis, including location of medical treatment and whether the county is typically supportive of medical malpractice plaintiffs.
Find the right expert
Not only do you need a medical expert to help prove that medical negligence occurred in your case – you need a medical expert who practices the same field of medicine as the healthcare professional who harmed you. For instance, if your injuries occurred during gastrointestinal surgery, your medical malpractice attorney will likely discuss the case with an expert who is a gastrointestinal surgeon.
File the Complaint and Certificate of Merit
Assuming the expert described above agrees that a medical error took place and caused your loved one’s injuries, the expert will prepare a Certificate of Merit. Your Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney will file a Complaint along with the Certificate of Merit in court.
And thus begins your formal lawsuit against the defendants.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania will help you file (and win!) your medical malpractice lawsuit. Find one at VSCP Law.