Regardless of the type of medical malpractice case you might have, you have a timeline to follow, even before you file the case. You must file within a certain amount of time after the incident — this is known as the statute of limitations. Once that time has passed, you are barred from filing a lawsuit or even attempting to settle the matter. Since the attorney also has to do some research before filing your case, it’s a good idea to find a lawyer that best fits your needs within days of the accident.
Finding the Right Lawyer
There are many personal injury lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio, but not just any attorney might be right for your case. The attorney you choose should have extensive experience in the type of case that you have. At The Mellino Law Firm, we have attorneys to handle several types of personal injury cases, including medical malpractice. Learn more about medical malpractice cases from us Law Firm by downloading a free copy of our guide to filing a medical malpractice claim in Ohio.
Investigation and Review of Medical Records
Before you contact an attorney, contact your doctor or another medical professional that is in charge of your care. Ask what went wrong and find out if the issue may be rectified. If the issue cannot be rectified or if your doctor refuses to rectify the issue, you may contact the state medical board. However, if you wish to hold the wrongdoers accountable and/or prevent what happened to you from happening to another innocent person, then retaining a medical malpractice attorney is probably your best course of action.
When you first retain our firm, we will interview you about your medical condition and treatment. Our attorneys must know everything that you know about your condition and the treatment you received. We’ll then obtain your medical records and any bills that are related to the treatment of your condition. In some cases, this could take several months. Once we receive all of your medical records about your condition, our attorneys will review them to find out if there is a valid medical malpractice case. If our attorneys determine that there is no medical malpractice, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
During the investigation, we will look for claims such as negligence, the failure to obtain informed consent and mistakes in diagnosis, treatment, and surgery.
Filing a Lawsuit
Once the attorney has gone through your medical records from a legal standpoint and determines that you do, in fact, have a medical malpractice claim, our attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Once the complaint is filed, the clock starts ticking. The person or entity you are suing has a set number of days to file a response. Once the response has been filed, you go through the discovery process.
This procedure is where you and the person or entity you are suing investigates each other’s legal claims and defenses. Each party — you are the plaintiff, the entity is the defendant — may file interrogatories, mandatory disclosure and take depositions of witnesses and the parties to the lawsuit. The discovery process could take over a year, depending on the court’s deadlines. Generally, the plaintiff and defendant have a specific amount of time, for example, 30 days, to provide answers to interrogatories. The timeframe for depositions depends on the court but often starts with a specific timeframe.
Settlement or Trial
Once discovery has been completed, the attorneys may attempt to settle the matter. This saves you money if you and the defendant can come to a fair settlement. If not, the case goes to trial. Depending on the complexity of the medical malpractice case, a trial could take several days or weeks.
Contact The Mellino Law Firm, LLC
The length of time it takes your case to make it through the process is unpredictable, but by following your attorney’s advice, you can make the process less stressful and will be able to help prevent errors that could cause the matter to take longer to reach a settlement or go to trial. Contact us at The Mellino Law Firm, LLC if you believe you have a medical malpractice case.