Medical malpractice cases can be complex, and they often result in lengthy litigation proceedings. If you have grounds for personal injury lawsuit against a medical professional or organization because they failed to meet their standard of care while treating you, you may benefit from legal representation. A qualified Columbia lawyer could fight for your right to compensation in court and guide you through the difficult trial process. Speak to a seasoned attorney to learn about the nuances of Columbia medical malpractice trials.
If a person has suffered from an incident of medical malpractice, they should contact a legal professional as soon as possible so they can begin to put together a case. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice suit in Columbia is two years. The injured party has until then to file a suit and will be barred from doing so if they miss that deadline.
One of the first steps that an attorney takes when building a medical malpractice case is gathering the necessary evidence. They often start by compiling the patient’s medical records, both from the incident at the center of the claim and from past treatments. Once those are collected, an attorney would consult with another physician or expert witness who could illuminate whether or not the target of the claim deviated from the standard of care. If so, demands for compensation and recovery could be made of the physician and the hospital.
If no resolution occurs, litigation is filed. The plaintiff then has 90 days from the filing to submit an affidavit of merit, which states that the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney has obtained the written opinion of a legally qualified healthcare provider. This opinion should say that the physician or healthcare provider failed to use prudent or careful care, and that failure caused or contributed to the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. After the affidavit, written discovery and depositions will begin, and a pre-trial conference and a jury trial may follow.
In medical malpractice trials, the plaintiff will give the opening statement, as per tradition, custom, and the court rules and statutes. The plaintiff presents their case first, followed by the defendant. Both sides may present a closing statement, which is a summation of the evidence that was presented and a final opportunity for the parties to present their cases in full, including the factual evidence and any other emotional or personal arguments that can be made.
When there are multiple defendants, litigation proceeds in the same fashion, except that instead of one defendant presenting the case, multiple parties may speak. The plaintiff still goes first. A local medical malpractice lawyer could present their argument effectively to multiple defendants by taking one defendant at a time. An experienced attorney could present the case in its entirety and then divides by each multiple defendant that could be held liable for the plaintiff’s damages.
The standard of care is one of the most significant factors in a medical malpractice trial. The plaintiff’s attorney will focus on whether that standard of care was deviated from by the healthcare practitioner and/or the treatment facility, and how that deviation damaged the plaintiff.
Additionally, the plaintiff’s lawyer may explain to the jury how the deviation from the standard of care affects the total amount of compensation that the plaintiff is seeking. They can support this analysis by providing the documentation and evidence that they gathered at the beginning of the litigation process.
Another important element of a medical malpractice trial is the expert witness. In these cases, an expert witness is usually a physician in the same or similar field as the alleged negligent physician. The expert witness will testify as to the standard of care, how it should have been applied, and how the failure to apply the standard of care injured the plaintiff.
An economist may also be used as an expert witness to calculate the economic effects that the individual’s injuries had on their economic wellbeing. Additionally, a life care planner might testify about the effects their injuries have and will have on their future everyday living activities and assesses the associated costs. Other expert witnesses could testify to provide additional information beyond the common layperson’s understanding.
The importance of expert witness testimonies in medical malpractice cases depends on the expert witnesses’ credentials, their experience, the way they present themselves in front of a jury, and the complexity and nature of the subject matter testimony provided. These testimonies can provide crucial support for the plaintiff’s case, and a knowledgeable attorney in the area would make sure to prepare to depose several such witnesses in their trial.
Medical malpractice trials can take a long time to complete, and it may prove crucial to be proactive about building a claim as soon as you have the necessary evidence. A Columbia medical malpractice lawyer could streamline the litigation proceedings and fight for your rights in court. Call today to discuss Columbia medical malpractice trials and begin preparing for your case.