Medical negligence occurs when a provider fails to take the right action when caring for a patient. Negligence can include injuries during birth, surgical errors, and mistreatment in a care home, eye surgery complications, and more. Proper evidence like medical records is crucial for attorneys to pursue medical malpractice cases. Both plaintiff and defense lawyers utilize professional medical review solutions to review and organize the voluminous medical records collected to prove the case.
Important stages of a medical malpractice claim are –
Determining Whether Negligence Occurred
The attorney reviews the medical records and other evidence to determine whether the physician acted negligently in rendering care, and whether that negligence resulted in injury. Legal elements to prove are –
- a professional duty owed to the patient
- breach of that duty
- injury caused by the breach, and
- resulting damages
Obtaining the Medical Records
In this stage, attorneys collect the necessary information as well as documents that serve as good evidence to prove medical negligence. These include –
Here, both the defense and plaintiff attorneys obtain information that relates to the claim from the other party. Deposition takes place during the discovery phase.
- During the deposition, the defendant physician answers the plaintiff attorney’s questions.
- Deposition makes it more likely to end the case in a fair settlement.
Attorneys often resolve medical negligence cases by negotiating the settlement with the practitioner’s insurance company. Malpractice attorneys assess the value of the case for settlement purposes. Settlement negotiations often take place over the course of weeks or months.
Damages in a medical malpractice case can fall under two categories:
- economic (medical bills, loss of future income)
- non-economic damages (patient’s pain and suffering caused by the injury)
A pre-trial investigation period could involve months or even years. Both the attorneys and the defense counsel will have an opportunity to question all the witnesses.
At trial –
- expert physicians will be called to testify that the defendant breached the standard of care
- the plaintiff’s attorney has to prove every element of the case
During the trial, attorneys have to present all the information gathered during the pretrial discovery. Professional deposition summary services are available for attorneys to support their trial preparation. While attorneys are busy proving negligence, professional companies providing medical record review for malpractice cases can assist them in organizing, summarizing and reviewing medical records for their cases.