How Long Does It Take A Lawyer To Decide Whether To Take Your Malpractice Case

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As some of the best medical malpractice lawyers in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, we are often asked by new clients how long it will take us to review their claim and decide if there is a case.

How long it will take us to review and decide whether you have a case depends on several factors.

What do our nurse paralegals think of the facts of your case?

First, the timing of our decision depends on the specific facts you relay to us about what happened.  Sometimes after we learn the basic facts of what happened, we know immediately whether you do or do not have a case. In most instances, we can tell our clients right away whether they have a viable medical malpractice claim.

In our office, the initial review of your case begins with an interview with one of our nurse paralegals. The nurses in our office are highly skilled medical professionals who are well-versed with most medical issues as well as the applicable medical standard of care.

Frequently, our nurses will obtain the facts of your case and be able to decide themselves whether you do or do not have a case.  If our nurse paralegals know that you do not have a case, they will tell you immediately and explain their reasoning.  This provides you quick, no-risk, peace of mind.

What do our medical malpractice attorneys think of the facts of your case?

Second, if our nurse paralegals believe that you may have a viable medical malpractice case, they will forward your interview notes to one of our firm’s medical malpractice lawyers.  The assigned lawyer will then review the medical summary, conduct research as necessary, and consider whether you have a case.

If the medical malpractice lawyers at Lupetin and Unatin conclude that the facts of your case raise the possibility of a viable medical malpractice claim, we instruct our nurses and secretaries to send you a medical authorization to obtain your medical records.

Do we need to obtain your medical records?

Third, before requesting all of your medical records, we will ask whether you have already obtained your medical records.  If you already have your relevant medical records we will ask you for a copy.  If you already have your medical records it will speed up the time for us to decide whether there is a case.

On the other hand, if you do not have your records, it will take us time to request them, pay for them and obtain them.  Obtaining your medical records is often one of the longest parts of the review process.  But it is a necessary step because in almost all instances we must have the medical records to be able to decide if you have a case. The medical record is the bedrock evidence needed to prove whether you have a case.

If you do not have your medical records, you may expect the process of obtaining your medical records to take anywhere from 30 to 90 days. The reason it takes so long is because nearly all of the hospitals use intermediary companies to obtain copy and mail out your medical records. In our experience they often make mistakes, overcharge, or send us inadequate or illegible records. All these factors take time to sort out.

What happens after we obtain your medical records?

Fourth, once we have obtained the medical records the lawyer assigned to your case will review and summarize them. This typically takes up to three weeks to complete.  If your medical malpractice lawyer believes  there is merit to your case, we will let you know and then begin the process of securing the necessary medical expert to review your case.

How long does the medical expert review take?

Fifth, if we have decided to have your claim reviewed by a medical expert you may expect another one to three months to obtain the expert’s opinion.  This is because we first must find and recruit the appropriately qualified medical expert. Then we must send the doctor or nurse the medical records.  After that, the expert must carve out time of their busy schedule to scrutinize your records.  Finally, we must schedule a time to speak with the expert to learn their findings and conclusions about the merit of your medical malpractice claims.

Ultimately, how long it will take for your medical malpractice lawyer to decide if you have a case depends on the facts of your case.  You may receive an answer immediately or you may have to wait several months.  At Lupetin & Unatin, we will not waste your time.  But we will also not rush our decision.  We take the process of reviewing potential malpractice cases seriously.  We do everything we can to know for sure whether you do or do not have a claim. 

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