A medical malpractice case may be necessary if you or a loved one suffered an injury, illness or infection at the hands of a negligent health care practitioner in Kansas or Missouri. It is normal to want your malpractice case to move as quickly as possible so that your family can recover the compensation that you need to finally move forward. It is important, however, not to rush the claims process, as this could lead to accepting less than you deserve.
What Is The Average Timeline for a Medical Malpractice Case?
The length of time that a medical malpractice case in Kansas or Missouri takes can vary substantially. In general, settling this type of claim outside of court with an insurance company is faster than going to trial. Although each case is unique, the average medical malpractice settlement takes a few months to a year from the time that the claim is filed to signing off on a settlement agreement.
Insurance companies have a legal obligation to respond promptly to claims that are filed. State laws generally give insurers 15 to 30 days to respond to claims that they receive and decide whether to accept or reject them. Medical malpractice cases are often complex, however, and may require more time for an insurance company to investigate the situation. This can lead to an average settlement timeline of 30 days to 6 months or longer.
If your medical malpractice case has to go to trial in Kansas or Missouri, expect a much longer claims process. A medical malpractice trial can take one year, two years or longer for the case to be heard by the courts. Although most medical malpractice claims in Kansas and Missouri reach settlements before going to trial, waiting for a court date is a possibility.
What Are the Different Phases of a Medical Malpractice Case?
The best way to ensure the most efficient legal process possible is by hiring a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer to take over your case. An attorney will know exactly how to deal with an insurance company or another powerful defendant to achieve the best possible results in the shortest amount of time. A lawyer can recommend whether or not to accept a settlement offer, for example, and handle negotiations on your behalf. Your personal injury lawyer in Kansas City will guide you through each phase of a medical malpractice case:
- Consultation. The initial consultation takes place between you and your medical malpractice attorney. It gives you the chance to tell your story and discuss your legal options, typically at no charge or obligation to hire the law firm.
- Documentation and research. If the lawyer accepts your case, the law firm will start researching the incident, identifying what the doctor did wrong, taking steps to preserve important documents and evidence, and searching for signs of medical malpractice to build your claim.
- Settlement negotiations with the other party. A medical malpractice case can settle between the plaintiff and defendant at any point before the first day of the trial. Settlements are generally faster and less expensive than going to trial, which can motivate an insurance company to negotiate.
- Trial. If both parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, the medical malpractice case will go to trial. This will add extra time to your case, as the court system can move slowly. The trial process itself can be long and arduous but may result in greater financial compensation for your losses than a settlement.
With a lawyer by your side, you can ensure the most efficient legal experience possible while also protecting your right to recover full financial compensation. A lawyer can steer you away from rushing into a lowball settlement that does not adequately cover your losses. A lawyer can also prevent an insurance company from unnecessarily drawing out your claim, such as with intentional delays. For more information about how long your medical malpractice case in Kansas or Missouri might take, contact Dickerson Oxton, LLC for a free consultation.