What Is the Timeline of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

By Greg Kohn

If a negligent or reckless doctor or health care provider caused your injury, you might be entitled to compensation under the New Jersey medical malpractice laws. However, it can take some time to resolve a medical malpractice case. While you are waiting to settle a medical practice claim, you may incur substantial financial losses, including medical bills and lost wages. It is common to be nervous about the timeline for a medical malpractice lawsuit because you need to settle the claim quickly to relieve the financial burden caused by medical negligence.

Contacting a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney as soon as you believe you might have been injured by medical error or negligence is strongly recommended. The sooner an attorney begins investigating the malpractice claim, the sooner the attorney can file an insurance claim and a medical malpractice lawsuit, if necessary. Unfortunately, it takes time to resolve a claim or lawsuit.

Most Claims Settle Out of Court

In many cases, medical malpractice claims are settled without the necessity of filing a lawsuit. Once an attorney has gathered sufficient evidence to prove malpractice, the attorney files a claim with the liability insurance provider for the doctor or health care provider. The attorney and the insurance provider exchange information and evidence related to the malpractice claim.

Your attorney attempts to negotiate a fair settlement of your claim with the insurance provider. If the insurance company refuses to act in good faith to settle the claim for a fair amount, your attorney may suggest filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to protect your legal rights. Keep in mind that the lawsuit may be settled at any point before a jury reaches a verdict. Therefore, your claim may be settled even after the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Standard Timeline for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in New Jersey

There is no definite answer for “how long does a medical malpractice case take” because there is not a set deadline for when a lawsuit must be completed. A statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, but it does not set a timeline for how the case proceeds after the filing of the lawsuit. The time it takes to proceed to trial and obtain a verdict in your case could take months or years, depending on numerous factors.

A medical malpractice lawsuit has several phases. After the filing of the initial complaint, the parties typically enter the discovery phase. During the discovery phase, each party exchanges information and evidence and continues to gather evidence and build their case. Depending on the complexity of the case, the discovery phase could take months or close to a year to complete.

After the discovery phase, the parties may file various motions with the court and continue settlement negotiations as they prepare for trial. Scheduling a trial date depends on the court’s schedules, the motions filed by both parties, and ongoing settlement negotiations.

A medical malpractice trial could take a week or more to complete. After the jury returns a verdict, it could take several months to receive funds from the other party if you win the case. The other party could avoid paying the jury verdict if it files an appeal. All appeals would need to be exhausted before you could take further legal action to collect the verdict. A medical malpractice lawsuit under appeal could take years to resolve.

Contact a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney for Help

Contact us today for a free consultation. Our New Jersey medical malpractice attorney understands that you may be struggling financially because of the malpractice. We work diligently to resolve your claim as quickly as possible for a just and fair amount, given the facts and circumstances of your case.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.