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Step-by-Step: California Medical Malpractice Cases

1) An attorney will make a preliminary assessment of your claim, based on information you provide. Sometimes, for various reasons, a decision is made at this stage that we will not proceed further with your claim. Those reasons may include a potential conflict of interest (for example, where the potential defendant in your claim is a treating physician for other clients or is an expert witness in another case), a belief that the liability case is weak, or that the provable damages are not extensive enough to justify the risks and costs of pursuing the claim.

2) If this initial review is positive, the medical records will be obtained and reviewed by an attorney. Establishing liability, or fault, depends, in most cases, on what is in the medical records. In the second stage of the evaluation process, we will examine copies of all the relevant records.

3) It may take as long as four weeks or more to secure records, and the doctors and hospitals are allowed to charge for their copying costs, or will simply make the records available to an outside copy service. The initial review of the records will be done by an attorney. Depending on the volume of records and the complexity of the case, the review may take four weeks or more to complete. Often it is necessary for us to perform medical research, either online or at a medical library.

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