The first thing any patient in Louisville should do if they believe that they have a medical malpractice case is to contact a Louisville medical malpractice lawyer so that the attorney can begin obtaining necessary information and building a claim. When an individual contacts an attorney, they will typically meet for a lengthy initial consultation, where the lawyer will have the patient sign medical authorization forms which will allow the legal team to access all of the patient’s medical records from the medical mistake, as well as their previous and subsequent medical records in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the patient’s health and medical history before the malpractice occurred.
Lawyers will investigate the medical malpractice case by requesting the client’s medical records, and summarizing those records. Based upon their previous knowledge of and experience with other medical malpractice, the lawyer will make a comparison with the initial review to determine if the case warrants pursuit. If it does, then the legal team will consult a group of experts, which could include an internist, a neurologist, or a nurse practitioner, among other professionals, depending upon who it was that made the medical error.
In addition to experts that directly correlate with the individual that made the error, there may be someone brought in to look at the case from a damages standpoint. A medical malpractice lawyer may have someone come in to do a day-in-the-life assessment, to see how the patient’s life has been changed as a result of the malpractice. The attorney will gather the big picture elements of the case and supplement the claim with information detailing even the less noticeable aspects of how the patient’s life has been impacted.
These cases take a very, very long time and necessitate the deposition of many people. To begin with, the injured party is going to be deposed, followed by the deposition of their family members. Next, the medical malpractice lawyer will depose the source of treatment, questioning the people that actually made the mistake and anyone that may have been involved that would have been witness to the mistake. In addition to the medical professionals being accused of the malpractice, there will be disclosed medical experts to depose as well. Medical malpractice cases are often multiyear litigations, sometimes lasting as long as five years with extremely complex cases.
In terms of a settlement, there are very few times a medical malpractice case will settle without having to file a lawsuit. Most of the time, in the rare cases where there are settlements, the parties generally settle right before going to trial because that is when all of the discoveries have been made, all of the experts have come forward, and all of the issues are known.
Kentucky is unique in that a lot of the surrounding states have implemented mandatory arbitration or have caps on the damages a person can receive. In every legislative session in Kentucky, the legislature is trying to implement those kinds of caps and force arbitration.
However, currently in medical malpractice terms, a person still has a right to a trial by jury and that person is not bound by forced arbitration.The problem most often encountered are older doctors that haven’t kept up-to-date on the latest in medicine and make mistakes as a result.
Medical records are the key evidence in a medical malpractice case process. Additionally, due to the continued evolution and modernization of hospitals and doctor’s offices, there are what is called audit trails. The audit trails show if doctors, nurses, or medical professionals have gone back after the fact and made changes to the medical records.
The biggest mistake that typically takes place is failing to consult with an attorney soon enough. There is a one-year statute of limitations and if anyone calls shortly before the statute of limitations runs out, there may not be sufficient enough time to collect medical records, consult experts, and overall time to help the injured person.
While anyone may have a valid claim, the injured person may not be able to be helped because Kentucky law requires that an expert confirms there is a deviation of standard of care before a lawsuit can be filed and two months is simply not enough time to make that happen. So, the best way to avoid making that mistake is as soon as the medical mistake is made, one should call an attorney and have the attorney start working on it immediately.
Contacting and retaining a medical malpractice lawyer is always the first and most important step for the patient to take. Nothing can happen in terms of promptly accessing the records, evaluating them, and having them reviewed by an expert without having access to the resources that a lawyer does. Experienced attorneys know where to locate experts, and are constantly engaged in research in order to keep up with the changes in medicine and in the law, which is why it is imperative that the injured person contacts a lawyer right away.