If a person believes they have grounds to file a medical malpractice case, the first thing they should do is retain legal counsel specialized in medical negligence. Medical malpractice is a complicated area of law, and those that do not deal with such cases regularly may be unsuccessful in defending a claim. Fortunately, a steadfast attorney would have the expertise necessary for involvement in Florida medical malpractice litigation. Call today to learn more about how an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you with the litigation process.
The Process of Florida Medical Malpractice Litigation
The process of medical negligence litigation in Florida starts with gathering facts about the situation, reviewing details of the accident, and sending the details to an expert who can determine whether negligence occurred. An expert who concludes that negligence did occur will provide and sign an expert affidavit, which will be attached to a notice of intent to sue. A claimant with an expert affidavit may go forward with their suit, but they must first participate in a pre-suit statutory scheme required by the Florida legislator.
A notice of intent to sue attached with an expert affidavit would be sent to all prospective defendants. Following that, a 90-day period ensues where plaintiffs and all prospective defendants can engage in some limited discovery to determine whether the latter wants to resolve the claim. The claimant will have the opportunity to file a lawsuit in civil court if the defendants choose not to resolve the claim.
Once litigation has begun, discovery allows for an exchange of evidence through written answers, documents, and testimony through depositions. It is at this stage that a claimant and their lawyer may begin preparing their case for trial. Florida courts also require that all cases enter into mediation prior to trial, which presents an opportunity for settlement talks. If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, the case would escalate to Florida medical malpractice litigation.
Settlement Vs. Litigation
Typically, medical malpractice cases do not settle early. Whether a case is settled out of court or goes to litigation depends on the parties involved. Medical negligence claims usually settle closer to the trial date, if at all. Most cases that do go to trial will be defense verdicts. A skilled legal representative will inform a claimant upfront that no amount of compensation is guaranteed. Settlement only takes place when a party is willing to pay the amount that a plaintiff is willing to accept.
Time Sensitive Matters in Medical Malpractice Cases
Calling a seasoned attorney should be done as soon as possible because of the statute of limitations that applies to cases of medical malpractice. A person’s claim will be forever barred from entering litigation if they do not bring a suit within two years of when they found out or should have found out about their injuries. As soon as they realize that their injuries were caused by medical negligence, they should contact a knowledgeable lawyer and discuss their claim.
Additionally, evidence may be lost, destroyed, or altered as time passes. Allegations of medical malpractice can be challenging to prove. Therefore, it is imperative to contact an attorney before entering Florida medical malpractice litigation.
Investigating a Medical Negligence Case
The process of investigating medical malpractice starts with having a conversation with the claimant. This involves learning details about their story, what actually happened to them, or what did they think happened to them. The next step of an investigation entails identifying prospective defendants and determining who committed the negligence and who was involved. Finally, a critical part of this undertaking involves collecting medical records, which can make a substantial difference in proving a medical care provider’s negligence. These cases are complicated and require specific evidence, so it is advisable to retain a dedicated attorney who has experience with Florida medical malpractice litigation.