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Can the Defense Lawyer Ask the Plaintiff Lawyer what the Case is About

Jun 15, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

Complaint and Summons

When you start a medical malpractice lawsuit, your lawyer will have to serve a set of papers known as a summons and a complaint. These papers have to be delivered to the people you are suing. For instance, in a medical malpractice case, these papers will usually be delivered to the doctor you are suing as well as the hospital. It is possible for the lawyer of the hospital or the doctor to call the plaintiff’s lawyer, ask what the case is about, and even ask for more information about the case.

The Papers do not Provide Detailed Information

Now, you might wonder, why the defense lawyer does not know what the case is about since he only has to read the summons and complaint papers. This is because these papers are generally and typically quite vague. The summons and complaint will not go into much detail about exactly what happened and why. Well, you might ask, why will the defense lawyer not call up his clients or the doctors involved to determine what happened and the reason this lawsuit was filed?

Well, the answer is that the defense lawyer will do that eventually. But it takes some time to get in touch with these doctors and to fulfill this step. If it is a single doctor where the hospital is not involved, it is simple for the attorney to pick up the phone and ask the doctor what happened. However, when the lawyer is representing the hospital, he only has a slight idea about what the real issues are. His knowledge is limited.

Based on this information and instead to shorten the whole process, the defense lawyer will simply call the plaintiff’s lawyer, and in a span of few minutes will know what the case entails. The plaintiff’s lawyer will tell him exactly what the issues are, what the claim involves, and what injuries his client has suffered. However, this can happen only when the defense lawyer knows the plaintiff’s lawyer, and has a professional relationship and some rapport with this person.

If they do not respect each other this process could become more difficult.

The next phase of the case will involve providing a detailed itemized list by the plaintiff’s lawyer about the allegations against the defense lawyer’s particular client. This way the defense lawyer will have a better understanding about the case, and he can send these detailed papers to the insurance company as well.

The Nuts and Bolts of the Case

So if the lawyers of the two sides know each other there can be a meaningful exchange of information, which will be in addition to the official exchange of documents that are needed for initiating and proceeding with the case. The initial official set of papers known as the summons and complaint are usually vague and they do not provide enough information for the defense lawyer to grasp the case.

If a hospital is involved, it may be difficult for the defense lawyer to get hold of the doctors or nurses involved and ask them what happened. Instead, just calling up the plaintiff’s lawyer is much easier and a quicker way of knowing the required information about the case. But it is not always this straightforward.