The 5 Phases Of A Medical Malpractice Case

Posted on: 7 February 2022

When a client sits down with a medical malpractice lawyer to plan the course of a case, they need to understand how things are likely to unfold. If you're thinking about pursuing a medical malpractice case, your attorney will want you to be aware of these 5 stages of the process.

Physical Recovery

As with an attorney handling virtually any injury case, a medical malpractice lawyer will want to see how well the client's physical recovery is going. If possible, you don't want to move forward with a case until you know whether you might have long-term medical issues. Claimants only get one settlement or judgment if they succeed, so a medical malpractice attorney will want the compensation to provide as much coverage as possible. If you settle today and learn there's an undiscovered problem a year from now, you can't demand more money.


A medical malpractice lawyer will try to conduct as much research concurrently with the client's physical recovery process as possible. For example, doctors will provide medical reports based on exams. Likewise, they'll do follow-ups after surgeries. Your attorney will study these reports, speak with experts, and determine how the evidence fits the case.

Compensation Demand

The case doesn't become a claim until you officially notify the defendant of your demand for compensation. Your medical malpractice lawyer will send the defendant and their insurer a letter and supporting documentation. The demand will state how much compensation is expected, who you believe is at fault, and how you can prove their fault.

Most doctors will lean on their medical malpractice insurance policies to address these situations. The insurance company will appoint a claims adjuster who will study the demand package, investigate what happened, and provide a recommendation to the insurer. Based on the adjuster's recommendation, the insurance company will either accept and pay the settlement, propose a lower amount, or reject the claim.


If the defense tries to negotiate, you can propose a counteroffer. These sorts of cases often go back and forth for months if the two sides are far apart.

Sometimes, the negotiations focus more on the payment structure. For example, a defendant may want to spread the cost out by paying through an annuity over so many years.


Following a rejection or failed negotiation, a claimant must decide whether to sue or not. If they don't sue, that's the end of the case. If the claimant does sue, a court will hear the matter and decide whether it merits a trial.

For more information, contact a medical malpractice attorney in your area.