Most Americans can go their entire life without the need to hire an attorney. The process of hiring an attorney is a daunting one- you must find a reputable attorney, sign an agreement, and sit back and wait. It is while clients are sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring that nerves become tense. This anxiety arises out of the unknown. Due to the countless TV shows revolving around lawyers, many people do not have a realistic picture of the actual process of filing a lawsuit and all of the work that is necessary to prosecute the case.
Once the decision has been made by the client to bring the lawsuit, the attorney springs into action. In a medical malpractice suit, the medical records containing information about the relevant treatment and injury sustained will be ordered from the medical providers. Under current Texas law, patients have an absolute right to their medical records. Once the law firm receives the medical records, an attorney will review them and look for evidence of negligence and equally importantly, determine if that negligence actually caused any recognizable injury. After these issues have been identified, the medical records are then turned over to a qualified expert for an expert opinion.
Under current Texas law, when a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed, an expert report must be filed within 120 days. This report is commonly referred to as a Chapter 74 Report. The law requires that this report tell the hospital or doctor being sued 1) What the appropriate Standard of Care is; 2) how the hospital or doctor violated the Standard of Care; and 3) because of the violation of the Standard of Care by the hospital or doctor, the patient was injured. If a law firm fails to file this report or if the report fails to address all of the required issues, a patient’s lawsuit could be thrown out of court forever. Once the court has accepted the report, the patient’s case is allowed to continue. This complex stage requires an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice and has the expertise on how to make these reports comply with the law.
The next, and most time-consuming step in the litigation process is known as discovery. Discovery is the process of gaining information from those with knowledge of the facts and circumstances that caused the injury to the patient. There are several methods of discovery; however, the most common are Requests for Production, Requests for Disclosures, Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and Depositions. Each one of these weapons in an attorney’s arsenal allows the truth to come out so those who caused your injury can be held accountable. This process, often lasting over a year, is a long one which requires the patience and cooperation of the client.
The decision to hire an attorney is not an easy one; however, once the decision has been made there is a tendency to want immediate answers and results. While the average case takes 1-2 years, it could be several years before there is a resolution to your case once it has been filed. It is important to remember that although you are not able to see the work being done, your attorneys are hard at work on your behalf.
The lawyers at The Talaska Law Firm will be aggressive advocates on your behalf. The experience and expertise that the Talaska Law Firm has in medical malpractice cases (including birth trauma, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury, brain damage, and pediatric cases) ensures that your case will be prosecuted thoroughly, aggressively, and as quickly as possible. For a free case evaluation, please contact the attorneys of The Talaska Law Firm today. The Talaska Law Firm represents clients in the State of Texas and across the country. The law limits the time you have to file your lawsuit, so call today.