All States and the Federal Courts require that a medical expert prepare a report for anyone wishing to file a medical malpractice suit. The idea is to prevent frivolous suits against the medical profession where the complexity of the case is going to require an expert witness sooner or later. The medical expert must be a licensed physician and have expertise in the field in question. The law requires the expert to review the medical records that exist as well as the facts of the case with the attorney and/or client.
It is important to have a good medical expert for a number of reasons. A report from a respected medical expert carries more weight both with the court (the Judge) and the defense team. It also makes it much easier to get a good medical malpractice lawyer because it demonstrates to such a lawyer that you have a good case. Since lawyers fund the case after it is started and then take a contingency fee (usually 33 1/3 %) then the lawyers want to know right up front if the case is worth the risk, the years of work and the amount of money that will be needed to be paid out.
A big hurdle for many people is paying the medical expert to review the case and issue the signed report (The Certificate of Merit). This usually costs between $5K - 8K which they have to pay up front. Any person who walks into a respected medical malpractice law office will have a much better chance at getting the case approved with such a report. Lawyers are very reticent to otherwise accept the case because the cost for the medical expert thereafter is going to be about $50K which the lawyer has to cover. This covers depositions, research, on-going consulting and trial.
The cost of getting a medical expert report to file suit is significant but usually very minor when compared to the value of the suit. Even if a client does not yet have a lawyer the client can file the suit without the lawyer if there is a medical expert report. Once the suit is filed that way then most people have enough time to find an attorney because the case doesn’t really move for some months. It is always important to remember that medical malpractice law suits have time limits and must be filed in time or they are forever barred. This is why waiting to proceed is never really a good idea.
It is very important to not underestimate how important the initial medical report is. A medical expert often times finds other evidence or acts in the medical records which helps your case or even increases your case and recovery. Many courts do not allow extra theories to be added to the case later so this is very important. An expert can also alert you to things in the case that are not important so that you do not needlessly use up time and money on those issues. It also happens at times that an expert may advise you not to even proceed because of medical findings that are not good for your case. To many people this is still money well spent because it puts closure on the matter so that you don’t feel guilty years later that maybe you did something wrong for yourself or a loved one by not investigating.
At MedWitness, Ltd. we provide the medical case reviews and the medical expert witness report(s) where appropriate. We get our reviews done usually within 72 hours and we have legally trained people help the medical expert with the reports so that they are not only medically accurate but legally acceptable to the court in any State. Once this is done you can proceed with your suit and/or get a lawyer and the medical expert will thereafter work with and through that lawyer on your behalf. We also carry a legal referral network to help get a lawyer if the you went through us for the medical expert report. To start the process simply go to MedWitness.com, then hit the tab on the top for Claimants to open this file and then fill out the form that comes up there. We will contact you from there. We will have a physician or attorney, as the case may be, call you to discuss the case at no charge.
MedWitness, Ltd. is currently working on a Plan to help clients fund this process. We encourage you to contact us if you think you have a case so that we can try and help somehow. That part is free.