Nobody should ever have to worry about sustaining an injury or illness caused by the negligent actions of a medical provider. Unfortunately, preventable medical errors are not uncommon throughout the United States. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have said that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the country. Additionally, many thousands of others injured and left dealing with the consequences each year. Here, we want to discuss how long it can take to resolve a medical malpractice case in Montana.

What Phases Are Involved in a Medical Malpractice Case?

There are various phases involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit that you need to be aware of. Each of these phases can take a significant amount of time to conclude.

Examine Medical Records

After an initial consultation with a Montana medical malpractice attorney, the attorney will spend time investigating every aspect of the situation. This will include looking at all medical records, a patient’s medical history, medical bills, and any other document related to the injuries or mistake that was made.

File Lawsuit

A Montana medical malpractice lawyer will then file a lawsuit in civil court. This officially begins the civil claim process.

Discovery Phase

After a case has been filed, the discovery phase will begin. During this part of the process, both sides will continue to investigate the claim. Each attorney will send requests to the other side to ask for evidence, health care information, and all other documents related to the claim. Essentially, both the plaintiff and the defendant will have all the information related to the claim so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to settle or move forward to trial.

During the discovery phase, all parties involved and witnesses will also give depositions. Depositions are taken under oath and are often a test run to see how witnesses will hold up in trial.

Negotiate Settlement

As the discovery phase continues, both parties will likely negotiate in an attempt to reach a fair out-of-court settlement. As more evidence comes in, both the plaintiff and the defendant will begin to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the case. This could spur one party or the other towards a conclusion in an effort to avoid trial.

Trial (If Necessary)

If neither party can reach a fair out-of-court settlement, it will be necessary to move forward to trial. At this point, it could take anywhere from a few months to a few years for a case to reach the courtroom, depending on the backlog of the court schedule and the complexity of the case.

When Can I Expect a Settlement for My Case?

In general, we will find that medical malpractice cases do take some time to resolve. Sometimes, these claims can drag out for years. Even though the Montana medical malpractice statute of limitations is two years, that deadline only applies to filing the actual claim. It has nothing to do with how quickly the claim has to be resolved.

Granted, there are some cases where insurance carriers or attorneys for the negligent medical provider will want to settle quickly. If liability is particularly clear or if the conduct of the medical provider was especially egregious, a settlement could take place within a year after the claim is filed. However, it will take a few years for most medical malpractice claims to be resolved and for a victim to receive the settlement that they need.

If you or a loved one need assistance with a medical malpractice lawsuit in Montana, our attorneys can help. Contact our medical malpractice attorneys in Billings for a free consultation.