There are three steps to evaluating your medical malpractice case.
Step #1: Getting the Medical Records
The first step is getting your medical records. If you already have your medical records, you can mail a copy of the medical records to us or send them to us by email. We will scan the medical records into our computer system and mail the medical records back to you. It’s that simple.
If you don’t have the medical records, we will ask you to sign a power of attorney that allows us to request the medical records for you. Once you sign the power of attorney and send it back to us, we’ll request your medical records from your doctor or hospital. It usually takes two to three weeks to get the medical records from your doctor or hospital.
Step #2: Reviewing the Medical Records
Once we have your medical records, my paralegal or I review them to make sure we got all of the records that we asked for. It’s very common that the hospital won’t send us all of the medical records that requested and when that happens, we have to make another request for the missing records.
If we have all of the medical records we need to review your case, I review the records to try to determine whether the doctor departed from medical standards of care—this is lawyer-talk for “he didn’t follow the rules”. In most cases, I can tell whether the doctor broke the rules, but not always—sometimes I ask a doctor to review the medical records.
Step #3: Expert Review of the Medical Records
Let’s say I send the medical records to a physician for review. The medical records are emailed to the physician and we’ll usually give him a couple of weeks to review them and call us with his evaluation. Doctors usually don’t review the medical records right away and it’s common for a case review by a doctor to take two or three weeks.
Once I speak with the doctor about his review of the medical records, I’ll know whether your case has merit and then I’m ready to discuss our case evaluation with you. I’ll call you to explain our expert’s evaluation of your case and its strengths and weaknesses.
How long does this whole process take? Usually four to six weeks, but sometimes longer and when that happens, we’ll let you know why it’s taking longer than usual.
When in Doubt, Call Your Lawyer
And if you’re not sure what’s going on with your case, we’re not doing our job and here’s what you should do: call us. It’s always good to speak with your lawyer at least once every four weeks and it never hurts to ask,
- What’s going on with my case?
- When will you know whether you will accept my case?
- Why haven’t you made a decision about my case yet?
It never hurts to ask your lawyer why he hasn’t made a decision about your case. And if your lawyer doesn’t return your phone calls, there’s not much chance he will return your calls if he accepts your case—this probably is not the right lawyer for you.