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Steps to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you have been injured through a preventable medical error or your loved one has died unexpectedly while receiving medical treatment, you want a better understanding of what happened. Did medical malpractice lead to harm? Doctors and hospitals rarely admit any error so you may be left with unanswered questions about what went wrong. The medical malpractice attorneys at The Colleran Firm are ready to assist immediately.

Our attorneys have been consistently listed among Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® and have secured numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of victims of medical malpractice. Because pursuing a medical malpractice claims is a complex process and Pennsylvania law generally requires that medical malpractice lawsuits be filed within two years of the date of the injury, it is important to contact a medical malpractice attorney quickly to start reviewing your claim.

1. Consult with a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Pennsylvania medical malpractice law balance.
A lawyer who is experienced at handling medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania can review the basic facts surrounding your injury during a free, confidential consultation and assess whether medical negligence may have been involved. Generally speaking, medical malpractice is defined as substandard, improper or negligent treatment of a patient by a doctor, hospital or other health care provider. Medical providers have a legal responsibility to follow the recognized standard of care in delivering treatment. If negligence is suspected, a more detailed analysis of your medical records is next.
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2. Collect Medical Records

Step 2 of filing a medical malpractice complaint: Collect Medical Records
Make a written request to the doctor, hospital or other health care provider for copies of all your medical records related to the treatment in question. The records should include all diagnostic tests and consultations, including any records of physicians who may have provided a referral to the doctor or hospital that would be named in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
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3. Obtain Independent Medical Review of Your Records to Assess Your Case

Step 3: Obtain Independent Medical Review of Your Records to Assess Your Case
The attorney who reviews your records may hire licensed medical professionals to analyze your records and offer an opinion as to whether substandard care was involved, as opposed to a doctor making a reasonable judgment call. If the expert’s opinion is that negligence occurred and caused your injury, the expert may be called to testify and provide evidence to support your malpractice claim if your case goes to court. The insights of medical experts help us make informed decisions about the merit of the potential malpractice case.
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4. Offer Recommendation on Whether to Pursue a Malpractice Claim

4. Offer Recommendation on Whether to Pursue a Malpractice Claim
After our medical malpractice attorneys at the Colleran Firm evaluate your medical records, we will discuss with you whether we are prepared to pursue a malpractice claim on your behalf. Medical malpractice cases are complicated and difficult to prove. They involve medical experts with specialized knowledge of the area of medicine involved. At The Colleran Firm, we make decisions about pursuing malpractice cases based on the information we have received, our knowledge of the applicable law and our decades of experience handling these types of cases. Our assessment of the case is not meant in any way to call into question the ordeal and suffering that you have experienced. We have to weigh our ability to mount a successful medical malpractice case based on the facts at hand.
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5. File a Complaint

Step 5: File a medical malpractice complaint
If we determine that there is a basis to pursue a medical malpractice claim, The Colleran Firm will file a complaint on your behalf with the court system. Most often, the complaint will be filed in the county where the negligent medical care occurred. Generally speaking, the complaint must be filed in Pennsylvania within two years of the date of the alleged medical malpractice. However, there are situations where more time may be allowed if the injury was discovered after the fact.
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6. Go Through the Discovery Phase of Litigation

6. Go Through the Discovery Phase of Litigation
During this period, written questions and answers are exchanged between the parties to the litigation. In addition, depositions will take place in which those who are deposed provide oral answers to questions under oath.
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7. Expert Reports Released

Step 7 of a medical malpractice lawsuit: Expert reports
Following discovery, formal expert reports are issued, providing each side a preview as to what the medical expert witnesses will say at trial.
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8. Negotiate with Defendants and Their Insurance Company

Step 8: Negotiate with Defendants and Their Insurance Company
The insurance company or companies may make contact as a medical malpractice case moves forward and inquire about a settlement. Our attorneys will negotiate with the lawyers representing the defendants and discuss with you any settlement offers. Often, a case can be settled out of court to the satisfaction of the injured party, avoiding the expense and uncertainty of a trial. We will offer our perspective on any settlement offer, but the final decision about whether to settle will be up to you.
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9. Have Your Day in Court

Step 9: Have your day in court
If the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, then your lawsuit will go to court. The medical malpractice trial involves a presentation of the evidence, with testimony on behalf of the injured party as well as the health provider or providers who are named as defendants. The testimony will include that of medical professionals who will discussed medical issues involved in the case. At the end of the presentation of evidence and closing arguments, the case will go to the jury to decide.
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10. Receive the Verdict

Step 10: Receive the verdict (gavel)
When the jury has concluded its deliberations, the jury’s verdict will be announced. If the jury finds in favor of the plaintiff, the court will enter a judgment for a monetary award for the plaintiff. Unless one side appeals the decision to a higher court, the case is concluded. The defendant’s insurance company will make payment of the award through the attorneys.
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11. Distribution of the Award or Settlement

Step 11. Distribution of the Award or Settlement
The last stage of the process is deducting the attorney’s contingency fee and costs from the overall award and settling any health care liens that a health insurer may have imposed while your case was pending and distributing the balance of the money to you.
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There are numerous steps in a medical malpractice case. Throughout the process, the attorneys at The Colleran Firm work diligently to seek justice on behalf of our clients and to hold negligent medical professionals accountable for their actions. Our medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. As a client, you do not pay any legal fee unless we are successful in securing compensation for you through a settlement or jury award.

The attorneys at The Colleran Firm handle serious injury cases caused by health care provider negligence and medical malpractice in Pennsylvania & New Jersey.

Connect With Us:

The Colleran Firm

2005 Market Street | Suite 1940
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-972-8000