Patients entrust doctors and other medical practitioners with their lives, and things usually go smoothly. Unfortunately, professionals can be accidentally or purposefully negligent, resulting in a breach of trust with the patient and biological harm. According to a True Cost of Healthcare study, more than 100 paid medical malpractice claims in South Carolina were recorded in 2017. Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated and take ages before settlement, so many more cases are likely being negotiated or discussed in courts.
Myrtle Beach is a hub of medical facilities served by four hospital systems, including Conway Medical Center, Grand Strand Health, McLeod Health, and Tideland Health. Additionally, medical centers specialize in same-day surgical procedures, cosmetic surgery, and surgical care. So if you or a loved one was injured after a procedure, consult a medical malpractice lawyer in Myrtle Beach to assess your legal options.
Medical malpractice can have serious consequences for the patient, including injury, illnesses, pain and suffering, and even wrongful death. This article examines the six stages of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Collecting Medical Records
Medical malpractice cases are usually high-stakes for everyone involved. It’s essential to gather as much evidence as possible. Therefore, your attorney will help you investigate your medical records to prove that you suffered a loss due to medical malpractice. Sometimes, your lawyer might need more evidence in your medical records to validate your claims. However, sometimes they might also find concrete evidence that strengthens your case.
Working with a seasoned medical malpractice attorney is important as they will know how to interpret your medical records and where to look for inconsistencies based on their experience.
- Finding a Medical Professional
Once your attorney is satisfied with the medical records you’ve collected, you can start looking for a medical professional who might be willing to testify. The witness should be an expert in the practice area the malpractice occurs. They will be required to validate your claims by explaining how the medical procedure was supposed to be conducted and the implications of the botched process. For instance, if a doctor gave you the wrong medication for a heart condition, the witness can explain which medication they were supposed to prescribe and its dangers.
Lawyers for both sides will request information from the other side that pertains to the case. Both parties are required to comply with discovery laws and disclose all information. This is a crucial stage for research and building a case strategy. All information declared during discovery will be considered if your case goes to trial. Both sides can spring last-minute evidence with a very good reason. Doing so will force the case back into discovery. So this stage is fundamental to the entire process.
Your attorney and the defendant’s attorney will also exchange written questions, which you must answer honestly. The attorneys can also interview witnesses from either side to try and get more information before the trial begins. All information exchanged here is a matter of legal record.
After the discovery stage, both parties have enough evidence to predict the trial’s outcome. Therefore, the attorneys can negotiate a settlement based on the existing evidence. While most settlement amounts are less than the maximum possible compensation, settling eliminates the uncertainties of a trial.
An experienced attorney can help you negotiate a satisfactory settlement at this stage and avoid going through a medical malpractice trial, which could take years. However, if you can’t settle, the case will proceed to trial. Both parties prepare by gathering evidence and analyzing the documents presented at the discovery stage.
Finally, the case is presented to a judge and jury. Attorneys from both parties present their evidence, cross-examine the witnesses, and make their statements regarding the case. The jury then makes its ruling. If it rules in your favor, you’ll receive compensation from the defendant. If you lose, you will be liable for damages. Based on the outcome, your legal aid can advise whether an appeal is possible or would yield a different result.
The appeals process has a set path in which your team has to prove that justice was not delivered. This is a hail mary ditch that could go either way. Typically, the jury’s decision stands unless a re-examination shows that some piece of evidence was not considered. However, if a new piece of evidence surfaces after the verdict, your team can use it to file an appeal. The best course of action must be negotiated between you and your representative.
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