If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a preventable medical error, consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to receive compensation. Medical errors are currently the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Fortunately, victims of medical malpractice can seek monetary restitution for their losses through a civil court.
Continue reading to learn more about this process and how long you can expect it to take.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Healthcare providers have a professional duty of care that they promise to uphold in their industry. Patients entrust their safety to these professionals, so when a breach of duty causes harm, injury, or fatality, these damages must be compensated for. Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose accurately or promptly
- Improper treatment
- Lack of informed consent
Finding a Malpractice Lawyer
There is a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Utah, so it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible. This statute of limitations begins from the date the injury occurred or should have been discovered. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the facts of the case and gather evidence to prove medical negligence. Several aspects must be looked into and determined, including but not limited to:
- Medical records and bills
- Hospital logs
- Witness interviews
- The extent of losses suffered by the victim and their family
- If long-term care is needed
The “Notice of Intent” and Pre-Lawsuit Panels
Before an injured patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Utah, they must provide the healthcare provider with a 90-day “notice of intent” to start the case. The notice will outline details, such as:
- The date, time, and place of the alleged misconduct or injury to the patient
- Identification of all providers involved in the patient’s care
- Specific allegations of malpractice
- The nature of the patient’s injuries
Within 60 days of sending the notice, the patient must also file a request for a prelitigation panel review. This pre-lawsuit panel will decide if the claim has merit. If all pre-litigation requirements have been met, the lawsuit can then be filed.
After all parties have been notified of the lawsuit, the discovery process begins. This is where each side requests evidence and any other related information needed to gather facts and build their case. This process varies in the amount of time it takes, but can last for a year or more.
As the discovery period moves on, the defense may attempt to settle your case outside of court. You and your malpractice attorney should consult on this decision. They will help you evaluate the pros and cons of going to trial versus settling. Sometimes, the lawyers will go in front of a mediator to try to settle the case as well.
If mediation or negotiation is not successful, the final step in a medical malpractice lawsuit is the trial. This can last anywhere from months to years, depending on the backlog of the court schedule and the complexity of the case.
Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Can Help You with Your Medical Malpractice Case
Surviving medical error can be traumatizing, but the experienced personal injury attorneys at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton are here to help you with your medical malpractice lawsuit. You can expect focused, individual attention from your attorney as we work to obtain a fair settlement or take your case to trial.
Our offices are located in Orem, Provo, Saratoga Springs, and West Jordan, Utah. Contact us to schedule your free case evaluation today.