Typically, a birth injury case will take between eighteen months to two years from the time the lawsuit is filed until the case either reaches a settlement or goes to trial. This timeline varies depending on a number of factors, including the state and county where the lawsuit (or “claim”) is filed, the extent of damages involved, and the number of experts consulted. The duration can also be influenced by how accessible the medical records are, and how much the witnesses are able to remember facts and cooperate with the litigation process. Each state mandates that a claim must be filed within a certain period of time after the malpractice has occurred. This is called a “statute of limitations” (SOL). Once the SOL has expired, legal action cannot be pursued. After a suspected birth injury or incidence of malpractice, it’s important to contact a birth injury attorney as soon as possible and discuss your options.
Stages of the litigation process
The first step in the birth injury litigation process is gathering the client’s medical records and consulting with qualified medical specialists and other experts. Attorneys will carefully review the records and other relevant material in this investigative process. If the injury could have been prevented, and a qualifying medical expert can attest to it, then a notice of claim is filed with the court. The exact procedure for filing a claim varies from state to state. Once a claim is filed, however, the defendants must answer the claim, or the document known as the “complaint.” This brings the case “in suit,” which means active litigation has begun.
Once a birth injury lawsuit is filed, the longest part of the process, called “discovery,” begins. During this period, each party exchanges documents, responds to written questionnaires (called “interrogatories”), and answers oral questions under oath (this is known as a “deposition”). Depending on the state the claim is filed in, mediation may occur; this process gives each party an opportunity to try and settle the case. If mediation does not resolve the case, a pretrial settlement hearing is held before the assigned judge. If the case doesn’t resolve, a trial is scheduled. However, many cases settle pre-trial, making a trial unnecessary.
ABC Law Centers (Reiter & Walsh, P.C.) | Trusted birth injury attorneys
Birth injury cases are long and complex lawsuits. Before choosing an attorney for your birth injury case, ensure that your prospective lawyer and law firm have plans to keep you informed throughout the entire litigation process. Open communication and a close relationship with your attorney will make the process of your birth injury case full of support, clarity, and confidence.
Should you have any legal questions, concerns, or case inquiries, we encourage you to reach out to our ABC Law Centers (Reiter & Walsh, P.C.) attorneys today. You may reach us in whichever way best suits your needs:
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Additional resources and reading
Working with ABC Law Centers: Keziah’s story
Watch Keziah’s family’s full testimonial here.