We are often asked, “How long does a medical malpractice lawsuit take?”
The answer to that question depends on a number of different variables particular to each individual’s claims, but unfortunately, medical malpractice lawsuits often take years to resolve.
When things go wrong during medical treatment, resulting in serious injuries or worse—the death of a loved one, it can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience.
However, ensuring you have the right advocate will ease the burden of seeking redress and make the judicial process more efficient.
How Does a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Work?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional makes a mistake that a member of their profession would not be expected to make under the same or similar circumstances.
Medical malpractice may occur for a variety of reasons, such as lapses in attention, failing to order the proper tests, misreading tests, failing to diagnose a condition, or many more.
A claim for medical malpractice, assuming the legal elements are met, can be brought against nearly any healthcare professional, including but not limited to:
- Registered or licensed practical nurses,
- Professional physical therapists,
- Mental health professionals, and
- Any entity providing healthcare services and all employees of a healthcare entity acting in the course and scope of their employment.
To prove medical malpractice, you must show that a provider breached their professional duty of care, resulting in harm to their patient.
Their professional duty of care depends on their medical training, the prevailing professional standard in their field, and the norm for treatment in that situation.
Generally, it is not enough to build a bare-bones case. There may be more than one healthcare provider who bears responsibility, and you may seek compensation from more than one defendant.
A medical malpractice lawyer can help determine whether your injuries resulted from medical malpractice, identify potential defendants, and pinpoint the type of malpractice that occurred.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Before filing a claim for medical malpractice, you must ensure that you are able to do so before the running of any legal deadlines.
The law in Missouri requires that a claim for medical malpractice be filed within two years from the injury’s date and any claim for wrongful death be filed within three years of the death.
This time limitation is known as the “statute of limitations.”
Assuming your claim is filed within two years (or three if your claim is one for wrongful death), and you do not wish to engage in some form of alternative dispute resolution, like mediation or arbitration, the claim will proceed to civil court.
A claim for medical malpractice in Missouri begins with filing a complaint.
The complaint must list those healthcare providers alleged to have acted negligently and describe their actions that resulted in you or a loved one suffering injury.
Additionally, Missouri law requires you to file an affidavit, known as a Certificate of Merit, alongside your initial complaint.
The affidavit must state that you or your attorney obtained the written opinion of a legally qualified health care provider and that the health care provider agrees with you in that the defendant health care provider(s) acted negligently.
Medical malpractice cases can be extremely complex and take many years to resolve, which is why you must have professional legal representation.
A lawyer will understand the evidence needed to prove your case and get expert witnesses to call on your behalf.
The testimony given by an expert witness is invaluable to you if you are bringing a claim of medical malpractice.
At Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, we have a dedicated, in-house medical team to make medical malpractice claims a seamless process.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Starting any legal proceeding can be potentially overwhelming, especially if you or a loved one has been injured because of medical malpractice.
At Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, we are the premier law firm for medical malpractice and catastrophic injuries.