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LITIGATING A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE… WHY DOES IT SEEM TO TAKE SO LONG?

Often times a client will get discouraged because it seems like their case is dragging on forever. We understand their frustrations. Settling a medical malpractice case, or getting it positioned for a trial is a process. The average life of a complicated medical malpractice claim, from start to finish, is approximately 3-4 years. Why do these cases take so long to litigate? There are several reasons.

An actionable malpractice case requires more than simply proving that a doctor made a mistake. The plaintiff must also prove that the mistake affected the treatment he or she received and/or increased the probability that he or she would suffer an injury that actually occurred. In Pennsylvania, you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit without a Certificate of Merit, which requires a statement from a physician that the care rendered to a plaintiff by a health-care provider deviated from an accepted standard of care, and further that this deviation led to substantial harm.

Once a lawsuit has been filed, the case enters the “discovery” phase of litigation where depositions, written questions called interrogatories, and the exchange of documents takes place. Most courts will not allow the parties to obtain a trial date on the court’s calendar unless and until all discovery is completed. The discovery process can take as long as 1-2 years to complete.

Our firm recruits outstanding medical experts to review our cases. Often times, coordinating the busy schedules of these physicians with numerous lawyers can be challenging and can lead to further delays in the process.
Once the discovery phase has been completed, and if the case cannot be settled, we will request a trial date. Because courts have crowded dockets, a trial date is usually not available until 6-12 months from the date it is requested. If two cases come up for trial on the same date, where the same lawyers are involved, one must be continued, often requiring another 6-8 months before a new trial date can be scheduled. In addition, we often have to take into consideration the schedule of the testifying experts who must clear their schedule so they can appear live at trial to testify.

Because of the complex nature of medical malpractice cases, they take longer to get to trial than most people like to wait. We, as your lawyers, want your case to proceed as quickly as possible. Plaintiff attorneys work on a contingency fee and do not get paid unless and until a recovery is made. In addition, our Pittsburgh medical malpractice law firm spends tremendous amounts of money on litigation costs. Rarely are the attorneys of our firm to blame for the delays in a medical malpractice case.

If you believe you have been the victim of a medical malpractice case, please contact the Pittsburgh, PA law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry. Our experienced medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources to help move your case forward. Please contact us today, and speak with one of our medical doctors on staff for a free consultation regarding your case.