Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional’s negligence causes harm or injury to a patient. If you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice in Connecticut, it is essential to understand the steps involved in filing a claim.
Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can be complex, but you can navigate the process effectively with proper guidance and knowledge, especially when you have help from Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer. This article will provide a step-by-step guide to filing a medical malpractice claim in Connecticut.
Consultation with an Attorney
Before proceeding with a medical malpractice claim, it is essential to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. During the initial consultation, the attorney will evaluate the merits of your case, review medical records, and assess the potential for a successful claim.
This step is crucial as it allows you to understand your legal rights and determine the best action.
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Obtain Medical Records
Gathering your medical records is essential to building a medical malpractice claim. Request copies of all relevant medical records, including doctor’s notes, test results, imaging reports, and any other documents that pertain to your treatment.
These records will provide crucial evidence in establishing the standard of care, any deviations, and the resulting harm or injury, which medical malpractice lawyer can use to advance your case..
Obtaining an expert opinion is critical to filing a medical malpractice claim in Connecticut.
Connecticut law requires that the plaintiff, or the injured party, must provide a written opinion from a qualified medical expert who practices or teaches in the same field as the defendant healthcare professional.
The expert’s opinion will assess whether the healthcare professional breached the standard of care, and if so, whether that breach caused the patient’s injuries.
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Notice of Intent
In Connecticut, before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff must provide a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the defendant healthcare provider.
The NOI must include a written opinion from a medical expert supporting the claim of malpractice. The defendant has 90 days to respond to the NOI and may offer to settle the claim or proceed with litigation. A medical malpractice lawyer can represent you during this process.
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Statute of Limitations
It is crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in Connecticut. Generally, the statute of limitations is two years from the date when the injury or harm was, or reasonably should have been, discovered.
However, there is a maximum limit of three years from the date of the negligent act or omission, regardless of when the injury was discovered. Failing to file within the statute of limitations may result in the claim being barred.
Filing the Complaint
If a settlement cannot be reached during the NOI period, and the statute of limitations has not expired, the next step is to file a formal complaint with the court.
The complaint should outline the details of the alleged malpractice, the harm suffered, and the damages sought. The defendant will be served with the complaint, initiating the legal proceedings.
Once the complaint is filed, both parties engage in the discovery phase. During this phase, each side gathers evidence, exchanges documents, and may depose witnesses.
The purpose of discovery is to obtain information that will help build the case and evaluate the strength of the opposing party’s arguments.
Mediation or Settlement Negotiations
Before proceeding to trial, the parties may opt for mediation or settlement negotiations. Mediation involves a neutral third party who facilitates discussions to reach a resolution.
Settlement negotiations can also occur directly between the medical malpractice attorneys. The case can be resolved without trial if a mutually acceptable settlement is reached.
If mediation or settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, the case may proceed to trial. Both sides present their arguments, evidence, and expert testimonies at trial.
The judge or jury then deliberates and reaches a verdict. It is important to note that not all medical malpractice claims go to trial. Many cases are resolved through settlement before reaching this stage.
Verdict and Appeals
If the case goes to trial and a verdict is reached, the court will determine whether the defendant is liable for medical malpractice.
If the plaintiff is successful, the court will determine the damages awarded. In some cases, either party may appeal the decision if there are grounds to do so. Appeals can extend the timeline of the case.
Filing a medical malpractice claim in Connecticut requires careful navigation of the legal process.
By consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, gathering relevant evidence, obtaining expert opinions, and adhering to the procedural requirements, you can effectively pursue compensation for the harm or injury you have suffered.
Remember that every case is unique, and it is essential to consult with an attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on the specifics of your situation.