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Will I Have to Go to Court for a Medical Malpractice Case?

October 9, 2023

Many medical malpractice victims never go to court. Research shows that roughly 95% of medical malpractice insurance claims settle before the start of trial. So, there’s a one in 20 chance of ending up in court.

However, those odds don’t mean that your medical malpractice attorney won’t be required to file a lawsuit. Most medical malpractice claims that settle prior to trial do so after the attorney has filed a lawsuit against the medical provider. Often cases don’t resolve until the case is near a trial date. This shows them that you’re serious about pursuing the compensation you deserve, and that they can’t avoid making a serious settlement.

You Must Be Prepared

While you may never wind up in court, you and your attorney must be prepared to go to trial. Once the complaint, affidavit(s), summons, and answer have been filed in the appropriate court, the parties may start the discovery process. This is a lengthy procedure and is aimed at providing disclosure between both sides of a lawsuit that allows the parties to know what to expect at trial. Each side may obtain discovery by:

  • Depositions;
  • Written interrogatories;
  • Requests for admission;
  • Production of documents; and
  • Physical or mental examinations.

As part of the discovery process, you’ll be expected to attend your own deposition. A deposition is sworn testimony outside of court. This typically takes place in your attorney’s office with your attorney present.

There are a number of other events that may take place. There could be a mediation before the trial date. You’ll have to attend mediation, which is a flexible dispute resolution process in which an impartial third party facilitates negotiations between parties to help them devise their own, mutually acceptable solution.

In addition, you will have to attend a pretrial conference before the Judge. This meeting helps the judge manage the case and set a timeline for concluding all the pre-trial activities. The judge may also set a tentative trial date at that time. Judges also use pre-trial conferences to encourage the parties to settle. At this conference, the judge and the attorneys may review the evidence and clarify the issues in dispute.

There can be many motions filed by both sides which require a response. Your attorney must be ready to attend hearings on these motions and argue your case.

If the parties don’t settle, you’ll have to attend the trial.

Note that a settlement doesn’t usually say anyone was wrong in the case. Also, a settlement need not settle the entire case; a portion of a case can be settled, with the remaining issues left to be resolved by a jury.

Contact Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Mistakes by healthcare professionals can lead to further injury, illness, and death. Having an experienced law firm that’s prepared to represent you is essential.

For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Rockford, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after hours, at home, or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today.