For victims who are looking at a medical malpractice case in the future, one of the biggest questions has to do with time frame. This is important for a number of reasons. For one, people have expenses that they have to pay, so they need to know when they might be seeing some of the money from the lawsuit. Likewise, medical malpractice cases can be stressful and they can be time consuming. It is important to understand the potential time frame to figure out whether you want to go to court. The answer is not a simple one, though. Medical malpractice cases can vary depending upon what state you’re in and how complicated your case happens to be.
The usual time frame
Though it is obviously difficult to pinpoint how long one of these cases will take, you can benefit from a general estimate. Know that the early parts of the case tend to take the longest. You can expect the filing, notice, and motion portion of the lawsuit to take at least a couple of months. Likewise, you will need to account for a decent amount of time for the discovery portion of the lawsuit. The two sides will need to collect evidence, depose witnesses, and comb through many different files. Likewise, the parties will need to line up their experts to testify on the issue. Given all of this, it is reasonable to expect that the early portions of the suit can take many weeks.
From there, you will have to go to court and fight things out through the litigation process. This takes significantly less time once all of the motions are filed, but there is also the court docket that you must worry about. In some states, judicial resources are very low and lawsuits are pushed to the back burner. In some cases, you can expect to wait many months to get a spot on the docket. There will also be an appeals process in most cases regardless of who wins the original trial. This can push out the lawsuit for many more months, bringing the total tally over a year in some cases.
Settling a lawsuit
Because of this cumbersome time frame, many people opt to settle the case. The settlement can come at various points of the suit and will usually depend upon who has the upper hand with evidence. Many parties choose to settle before ever going to trial. In this type of situation, the lawsuit can take as little as a few weeks. It is a much less involved process and circumvents the court in many ways, providing people with the payout that they want without all of the legal hassle.