Daytona Beach Attorneys - Lawsuit
When a lawsuit becomes necessary.
After the claim is denied by the doctor or hospital's insurer, the next step is the filing of a lawsuit. This is accomplished by preparing a document called a Complaint and by filing the Complaint with the local clerk of the circuit court. Once the Complaint is filed, a Summons is issued by the clerk, and this is then given to a deputy sheriff to serve upon the doctor or the hospital's resident agent. The preparation, filing and service of the Complaint usually takes at least a month to accomplish.
Once the defendant has been served with the Complaint, their attorneys have 20 days within which to file pleadings directed to the Complaint. Sometimes the defendant's will file motions directed to the Complaint, and sometimes it can be several months before an answer to the complaint if actually filed. The rules of procedure that govern the course of the lawsuit require that we cannot ask the judge to set the case for trial until the case is "at issue" which is the legal term that basically means a certain period of time has elapsed between filing an answer and the time of filing the "Notice at Issue" where in we request a trial date. Once enough time has elapsed so that we may file a "Notice at Issue" and thereby request a trial, it usually takes anywhere from four to six months before the judge actually schedules our case for trial.
While our Daytona Beach attorneys await the trial date, the discovery portion of the case proceeds. We will be sending you discovery documents provided to us by the doctors' lawyers, called Interrogatories (which are merely written questions) and Requests for Production of Documents. The interrogatories will merely ask you details about you, your history, your work, the names of other doctors seen, etc., and will usually be limited to 30 questions. The Requests for Production will ask us to provide the defendants with documents such as medical records of other health care providers, medical bills, work information (if we are presenting a wage loss claim), income tax returns, and so forth. The Rules of Civil Procedure require that the interrogatories be completed and returned to the defendant within 30 days, and the rules also provide that the materials in response to the request to produce must be produced within 30 days. It is important that these documents be answered and returned promptly. Obviously, if you ever have any questions you should call one of our Daytona Beach attorneys.
With regard to your current treating doctors, please do not discuss the legal aspect of your claim with them unless they make specific comments which you believe are critical to the defendant's care and treatment of you. Most doctors do not want to get involved in medical malpractice lawsuits, and don't feel comfortable discussing such claims with the patient. If they make any negative comments regarding the defendant, please contact our office immediately so that our Daytona Beach attorneys may appropriately document your file.
If you are referred to another physician or testing facility by your treating doctor, please contact us immediately and discuss these recommendations with our Daytona Beach attorneys. While it is very important for you to seek further medical testing and treatment to try to improve your condition, it is also important to avoid the anti-malpractice, anti-litigation health care providers who will do anything to help the defendant doctor.
There are many highly-qualified physicians who will render excellent care to you who are willing to be honest when it comes to testifying as to the significance of the injury caused by the negligence of another doctor. Juries listen very closely to what subsequent treating physicians have to say about your medical condition, and you want to have a truly impartial doctor rendering an honest opinion about the extent of your injuries.