There are times when medical professionals make mistakes, and these mistakes can lead to serious injuries or illnesses for patients. In many cases, injured individuals will be able to file a civil medical malpractice lawsuit in order to recover compensation for their losses. However, medical malpractice claims are challenging, and you may or may not have to go to court. Here, we want to discuss the typical process of a medical malpractice claim and whether or not you will end up in a courtroom in front of a jury.
When a medical malpractice claim is initially filed, this is just the beginning part of the process. An attorney will file your case in the civil court system. We want to point out that California law requires the plaintiff to provide the alleged negligent provider notice of the impending claim at least 90 days before the lawsuit gets filed. The defendant must be told of the basis for the claim, the nature of the injury or illness, and the type of loss or damages.
When a claim is officially filed, a plaintiff will not have to be at the court for this process. Making an actual appearance in the courtroom may not occur for years after the claim initially gets filed.
The discovery process happens with every injury claim, including medical malpractice cases. This is when legal teams for all parties involved exchange information and evidence with one another. Every party has the right to examine evidence that will be used in the trial. This is also the part of the process where witnesses will likely be deposed under oath. These are the same witnesses that may appear in the trial, and their statements are absolutely critical for building a case.
During the discovery process, information may come to light that encourages the plaintiff or defendant to settle or drop the case. In fact, the vast majority of successful medical malpractice claims result in a settlement before going to trial. However, that is not always the case.
In the event the two parties cannot reach a settlement at any point during the discovery process or through possible mediation, then the case will be scheduled for a trial. It is not uncommon for there to be years in between when the case is originally filed in court and when the case is finally heard by a jury. In the event a medical malpractice claim in California does make it to a jury, you will indeed have to go to court for the case.
When you go to court for a medical malpractice claim, your attorney will be in charge of the entire process. You may certainly be called as a witness, but you will not be responsible for ensuring the smooth flow of your particular aspect of the process. Your attorney will have thoroughly prepped you and any witnesses for this eventuality.
If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligent actions of a medical provider, we strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney with experience handling these claims today.