Starting a Medical Malpractice Case

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

The experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney knows that there is a lot of mystery that which surrounds the lawsuit process, especially so for people that are not attorneys.  Many people fear approaching an attorney after a doctor did something wrong.  The injured patient wonders, how much will I be charged; will people think I am stupid or greedy; how long does it take; what does the attorney need from me; then what next?

All of the above are very normal questions.  Every medical malpractice case starts in a very informal way; by contacting an experienced medical malpractice attorney.  The injured patient will call the attorney, or send an email message, and the attorney will respond rather quickly.  An appointment is made and the details are discussed.  Before the formal process of litigation begins, all of this basic stuff must be done.

The attorney will review the facts and the patient’s medical records in addition to interviewing the patient.  Once enough has been done to state a valid claim against the doctor, the attorney will commence the lawsuit.

The legal term for formally starting a lawsuit is, “commencement”.  The procedure has more substance than the word itself.  If the attorney is worth his salt, he will know procedural law like the back of his hand.  While each court may have its own rules, the process of commencing a lawsuit is thoroughly detailed in the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, but again, there will be some variation depending on the court.

Starting a lawsuit formally in court involves bringing the complaint to the clerk of the court where the lawsuit will be tried.  The complaint is paperwork that tells the court and the defendant what the problem is; what legal obligation the defendant failed at doing.  A summons will have to be given to the court as well, but let us place that aside for the time being. 

The paperwork cannot be accepted by the clerk unless the attorney pays the fee required by the court for starting a lawsuit.  Yes, it may seem shocking, but the court does charge a fee to the plaintiff for starting a lawsuit.  Once paid, the clerk must accept the complaint and he or she will time stamp the paperwork and complete the processing procedures.  The defendant must be given the summons and complaint too, but that discussion can be saved for another time. 

The medical malpractice lawsuit is now formally started.  Of course there is still a lot of work to do in addition to all of the work that was already done. 

In regard to the fee required by court; medical malpractice attorneys typically do not get paid unless the plaintiff wins the case and the fees associated with suing a negligent doctor are paid for by the attorney, who may or may not recoup the expense out of the court awarded compensation. 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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