The Atlanta medical malpractice case process is unique from other injury cases. Therefore, it is important to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney when bringing a case. A skilled lawyer can guide you through the process to give your claim the greatest chance of success.
Medical Malpractice Case Process
An expert affidavit identifying at least one breach of the standard of care must be obtained. Once the affidavit is in hand it is filed and served on the defendant along with the Complaint setting forth the general allegations and initiating the case. Once the case is filed, written discovery begins where an attorney will uncover all available evidence and build a claim. The medical records are often the most critical evidence. However, simply reviewing the records often will not tell determine whether malpractice occurred. A review of the records by a qualified expert is typically necessary in order to determine whether malpractice has occurred.
Discovery is followed by depositions. If the case does not resolve following discovery, then it proceeds to trial. It is important that a case is investigated as promptly as possible so that all relevant evidence is available, and all applicable statutes of limitations are met.
While in obvious cases of malpractice pre-suit settlement is possible, that is very unusual in the medical malpractice context. Typically, a medical malpractice case must be filed and litigated before there is much chance of resolution.
Collecting Evidence in Atlanta
As stated above, before filing a claim, an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney will generally collect all available medical records. This generally includes collecting office records, hospital records, imaging studies, and lab results.
A medical authorization will allow the attorney to collect all applicable records. Once a suit is filed the attorney will be able to collect additional documents from the potentially at-fault providers including policies and procedures. In general, the statutory discovery period, or the period an attorney has for collecting evidence is six months. However, in most medical malpractice cases this will be extended to a year or more.
After collecting evidence and taking deposition the attorney must assess what evidence is necessary to prove a breach of the standard of care, causation, and damages and then must ensure the evidence is organized and presented in a fashion that will be understandable and compelling to a lay jury. The general rule is the more information the attorney has the better. It is critical to inform the attorney of all potentially relevant information.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The Statute of Limitations is the deadline for filing a medical malpractice case. While there are exceptions that may apply, the general statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury. However, if the injury is not discovered or if the injured person is a child then the statute of limitations may be longer than it would be otherwise. With medical malpractice for a child under five, they will have two years from their fifth birthday to file a case.
The statute of limitations must be strictly adhered to. Therefore, it is important to promptly contact an experienced lawyer so a claim can be filed within the necessary time limit.
Discuss the Atlanta Medical Malpractice Case Process with an Attorney
A knowledgeable attorney can help you better understand the Atlanta medical malpractice case process. For answers to your questions, reach out to an attorney today for a free consultation.