Medical malpractice cases in Iowa take a long time to resolve. It can easily take two years or longer to reach a settlement or verdict for your medical malpractice claim.
There are multiple steps that happen during a lawsuit. While it may feel like nothing is happening in your case, that is only because your attorney is taking care of the details behind the scenes. They will keep you informed about important deadlines or other details, but it’s not unusual to go a while without hearing from them. Your case is still being worked on, but there may be no news to report.
Filing a Lawsuit
You may still be healing from your injuries while you begin your claim. If so, you should not settle your claim until you are healed, or as healed as your doctor says you will get. If you have not healed and the statute of limitations is approaching on your case, you will need to file a lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit doesn’t mean you have to go to trial. It only protects you from losing out on compensation for your injuries. If you need more than 2 years to heal, filing a lawsuit will stop the clock and let you get better on your own time.
Your Medical Records are Key to Your Malpractice Claim
If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed because of a medical error, there are probably thousands of pages of medical records that detail your treatment.
It takes a long time to gather all of these medical records, especially if you have been a patient with multiple different medical providers. Once these records are finally gathered, your attorney needs to hire an expert witness to review these records and establish if you have a medical malpractice claim. As you might imagine, reviewing these records can take a lot of time.
Depositions and Your Case
A deposition is an oral question and answer session about what happened to you and how your injuries have affected your life. It will be given under oath and a court reporter will record everything that is said. Many people involved in the case may have their depositions taken, including the doctor who hurt you and experts for both the plaintiff and the defense.
Depending on how many people have their depositions taken, it can take months to schedule and complete everyone’s deposition and review what they have said.
Mediation and Trial
It’s possible that your attorney and the defense attorneys try to settle your case before trial. This is known as a mediation. During a mediation, the two parties and a neutral mediator try to come to an agreement about settling your case. The mediator will discuss settlement terms with you and the other side to see if an agreement can be made. Most of the time, mediations are successful and you do not have to proceed to trial.
If the defense does not want to mediate your case, or you cannot come to an agreement about settlement terms, then the next step is a jury trial.
Waiting on a trial can make your case take even longer. Jury trials are expensive and take a lot of time and effort to prepare. It can easily take another couple of years to schedule and prepare for a trial.
If you would like more information about Iowa medical malpractice lawsuits, download a FREE copy of the Law Guide to Iowa Medical Malpractice Claims.