Contrary to what some people may believe, the process of an Albany medical malpractice case is often incredibly complex. It is important to understand how the medical malpractice case process works but also to understand the importance of strictly adhering to filing requirements and deadlines.

If you believe you suffered an injury because of a doctor or healthcare provider’s negligence, you may want to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. In addition to working to protect your rights and interests, a lawyer could help you navigate the medical malpractice case process.

What Should a Person Do Before Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

A medical malpractice lawsuit begins long before formally filing a lawsuit. This is partially due to the certificate requirement set forth in Rule 3012-a of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. This rule requires the following:

  • An attorney reviews the facts of the case
  • The attorney consults with at least one physician
  • As a result of reviewing the facts and consulting with a knowledgeable and licensed physician, the attorney certifies there is a reasonable basis for commencing the action

While there are some exceptions to this rule, it is often critical to the overall case that a person obtains a certificate before filing a lawsuit.

How Does a Plaintiff Formally File an Albany Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Once the preliminary investigation is completed, the next step in the process of an Albany medical malpractice case is to prepare and file a complaint. N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 304 requires that a summons or notice be included in the initial filing.

After preparing the petition, certificate, and summons, a lawyer will file these documents with the clerk of the court in Albany along with the required filing fee.

Pre-Litigation Phase

While most people think that a case can only be resolved by going to court, the reality is that a majority of cases are settled before trial in the pre-litigation or discovery phase. During this stage of the medical malpractice case process in Albany, both sides may make requests from the other side for information known as discovery.

During this phase, it is common for one or both sides to propose a settlement agreement or offer to engage in arbitration. This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that a person receives compensation for their injuries stemming from medical malpractice.

Going to Trial for an Albany Medical Malpractice Case

If one or both sides are unable to reach an agreement during the pre-litigation phase of the process of an Albany medical malpractice case, then the case will proceed to the more formal trial phase. An injured person may elect to have their case decided by a judge or by a jury comprised of six individuals.

During this phase, each side will have the opportunity to present their own evidence to support their claim. In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff—meaning the injured patient—has the burden of proving that the doctor was negligent and that they suffered an injury as a direct result of that negligence.

Verdict and Appeals

At the conclusion of a trial, the court will return a verdict, which will state whether they find the defendant—the medical professional accused of malpractice—liable for medical malpractice. In addition, the verdict will state the amount of damages the plaintiff is entitled to receive because of medical malpractice.

However, this is not the end of an Albany medical malpractice case, as either side may choose to appeal the trial courts decision. An appeal asks a higher court to review the case to determine if the trial court made an error of law and to reverse or nullify the judgment if they did. An appeal must be filed no later than 30 days from the date of the original judgment. N.Y. C.P.L.R § 5513

Calling an Albany Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one suffered injury due to medical malpractice, do not wait to contact an experienced Albany medical malpractice lawyer who can examine your situation, explain the process of an Albany medical malpractice case, and work to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and losses. Call today to schedule your consultation.