According to the American Medical Association, 42% of doctors or physicians have faced a medical malpractice lawsuit in the course of their careers. Doctors are held to a very high degree of standard in their practice. Many cases of medical malpractice involve a serious or crippling injury or death. This means that juror sympathy in these lawsuits is high. Medical malpractice experts who defend these cases are often faced with a myriad of challenges. In light of this, they need to be well prepared and here are some key pointers.
Prepare for any Eventuality
Statistics reveal that many of the medical malpractice cases are settled out of court. Despite this, one of the keys to defending such cases is to assume that the case will be tried in court. This way the defense team will not be caught unaware or blindsided when the case goes to trial. Preparation to go to trial should commence once a petition is sent by the insurance company. If a lawsuit has been filled against you, you want to enlist the services of an attorney who has trial experience.
Early case Investigation
Many of the medical malpractice cases can go on for up to 5 years. However, if the defense team does its work properly, then this time frame can be shortened. It is very unsettling for a doctor to practice effectively with a case over his head. The positive is that studies has shown a direct correlation with care quality and odds of a settlement being dropped. Doctors who provide consistently good care will win more cases. Early case investigation can go a long way in reducing this time frame. Some medical malpractice lawsuits are filed a few months after the incident happened. In such cases, the defense team will rely heavily on treatment notes and medical records. This is because the doctor may not remember much. It is very important for a defense team to engage the services of medical malpractice experts. These professionals will provide insight in the case and this can be very instrumental during trial. Early case investigation should come up with a complete medical chronology of the case, preliminary literature research and medical records. The defense team can use a nurse paralegal to get this information.
Medical Expert Witness
The medical expert witness testimony helps to add credibility to the case. The defense team must therefore pick an expert who is above board. If the case goes to trial, the expert’s qualifications and history may come up. The defense team will have to look into the expert’s record and ascertain that he does not have any biases. To prepare the expert witness, the defense lawyer should cross examine the witness so that he or she is well prepared in court. The defense team must be well prepared for any contingencies and they should try to mitigate such risks before the trial proceedings begin.