How long is my medical malpractice case going to take?
The standard attorney answer is that “it depends.” Here’s several reasons why it takes a while before a medical malpractice lawsuit is even filed:
- We first need to obtain your medical records. Typically there are multiple hospitals and doctors offices. It generally takes about a month to obtain these. Some medical billing/records departments are really slow about it. These places often require 2-4 letters/faxes and followup phone calls to get them to send the records. A lot of medical providers use a third party billing service, so they’ll be different offices for us to request records from. Some of the services are prompt (they charge us to get the records so they have an incentive to get them to us), while others are cumbersome.
- Once we get all the records together we review them. If we still thing you still have a viable case, we’ll then send the records to a medical expert. This is generally a doctor or a nurse. Oklahoma law requires that an Expert Affidavit be included in any medical malpractice case. We did this as a matter of course before the law went into affect though. It’s basic due diligence on our end to get a medical expert’s opinion. An expert will generally take several weeks to get back the file back to us. It’s typical for a doctor to charge $400/hr to review medical records. A medical malpractice file can easily take a doctor 10 hours to fully review and write an opinion on it.
- If the doctor agrees with us on the case, we pursue the claim. Our next step is to contact the doctor and/or hospital involved in the malpractice by sending our letter of representation (“rep letter”). Note that two to four months could have easily passed from initially meeting with the client/attorney to even get to this point. The defendant’s attorney(s) will generally respond within a few weeks of our rep letter. Sometimes, albeit very infrequently, the opposing side is willing to talk settlement at this point. If settlement talks are not feasible, or they fall through, we file a lawsuit.