In a medical malpractice suit, the size of your settlement depends largely on the quality of your evidence. Gathering evidence in such cases can be complicated, tedious and requires a comprehensive understanding of your state’s malpractice laws and regulations. Therefore, the first step in gathering evidence for your medical malpractice claim is finding an experienced medical malpractice attorney to handle your case. Our legal team acquires all pertinent medical records and secures crucial expert witnesses to review the material, provide supportive opinions and testify on your behalf.
The experienced legal team at Schochor, Federico and Staton reviews the three key pieces of evidence in a medical malpractice case below.
Gathering the three key pieces of evidence in malpractice cases
When it comes to gathering evidence for a medical malpractice case, there are three stages: the initial review stage, the discovery phase and the trial phase. In the initial review phase, your medical malpractice lawyer acquires medical records and relevant articles from respected medical journals and has them reviewed by board certified medical experts in the appropriate specialties to confirm the merit of the case. In the discovery phase, your attorney will conduct depositions of the defendants and other key witnesses, gather medical literature, and participate in expert witness depositions. In the trial phase, your attorney presents these essential pieces of evidence to the court. A more thorough explanation of the three key pieces of evidence is as follows:
- Medical Records. Medical records are the most important evidence category in malpractice cases. Given that these records vary in comprehensiveness, an experienced attorney is needed in gathering all needed documents, ensuring they are completely updated and utilizing these documents to prove your case. Records can include case notes from the attending physician, discharge papers, treatment plans, surgical notes, CT and MRI films as well as pathology slides.
- Expert Witnesses. As the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, the burden of proof is on you. You must be able to prove that the expected standard of care was not met and that the injuries or illnesses you have suffered were directly caused by negligence on the part of your healthcare provider. To do this, expert witnesses are required. An expert witness must explain the expected standard of care levels, walk the court through how your case was handled and clearly demonstrate how your injuries are a direct result of negligence.
- Medical Journals and Articles. In some instances, expert witnesses can rely on current articles in highly respected medical journals to assist in proving negligence. These articles can show how a particular case should be handled, what the latest in treatment options are and offer precedents for cases similar to yours – all of which can be used to bolster your case. Frequently, malpractice attorneys can use the medical literature to cross examine opposing experts.
Each component of the needed evidence requires extensive research, a comprehensive understanding of malpractice law and a familiarity in dealing with insurance companies and hospital administrative staff to secure needed documents. Depositions must be carefully prepared and conducted to set the proper pretrial testimony upon which the medical experts can rely. Victims are urged not to try to handle this on their own. Call the experienced malpractice attorneys at Schochor, Federico and Staton for expert help.
Schochor, Federico and Staton is here to help you gather evidence
The respected medical malpractice attorneys at Schochor, Federico and Staton have over three decades of experience serving clients in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C. If you believe you or a loved one have been the victim of negligence that has resulted in an injury or wrongful death, call us today at 410-234-1000 to speak with one of our attorneys. We review your case, gather all needed evidence and litigate on your behalf for a fair settlement.