You feel you are the victim of medical negligence and you have suffered significant injuries due to that negligence. Here is the legal process of evaluating a possible medical malpractice case.
The First Step
The first step is a quick screening call with your attorney that should last no more than two to three minutes. This call is designed to get some basic information in order to determine whether you should be called to the office for a full consultation and discussion.
Initial Phase with the Lawyer
Assuming you are called to the office of the law firm, you will sit with an attorney for about an hour. The attorney will go through and ask many questions about what you feel was done wrong, and the injuries you suffered because of the wrongdoing. If the attorney feels you might have a case, he will ask your permission to accumulate all of your medical records.
Once these records come in, the attorney will go through all of them, and he will send them to a medical expert for confirmation. The medical expert will view the records and will confirm that there was wrongdoing, this wrongdoing caused your injuries, and the injuries you have suffered are significant or permanent. Once you have confirmation of the medical expert on all these three elements, you then have a legal basis to proceed forward with your case in New York.
Actual Filing of your Case
After receiving confirmation from the medical expert, your lawyer will prepare a document called the summons and complaint. This document will be given to the court, and you have to buy an index number, which is an identifying number for your case. Your lawyer will file this with the clerk, and he will take that document and deliver it to the people you are suing.
After that, you have to wait for an answer to the allegations of your complaint. Once you receive an answer, your lawyer will let the court know that the issue has been joined, which means that all the different people you are suing have answered your allegations. In all likelihood, all these people would have denied your allegations.
Scheduling Conference and Deposition
Next, the court will give you a time and date to come in to set up a scheduling conference. It is a guideline about when things are supposed to happen during the course of your litigation. Scheduling involves dates of your question and answer session known as a deposition, dates for the attorneys to exchange documents with each other, and dates for the next conference or meeting.
After you have completed the deposition, your attorney will have the opportunity to question all the people you have sued. After the deposition and the exchanging of documents, the court will be notified that the case is technically ready for trial by filing a document called note of issue.
The judge will then put your case on the trial calendar. Your case will be at the bottom of this list, over time it will rise to the top, and it might take a couple of months before you are notified to come in for a pre-trial conference. At this conference, there might be attempts to agree to a settlement and if not, you will then receive a trial date.