The Legal Process
Malpractice lawsuits against health care providers can vary widely in the bases, issues, questions of law, and complexity of a particular case. There are certain procedural requirements common to all such cases. These are defined in the applicable rules of the court (state or federal) that will have jurisdiction in the lawsuit. Most civil cases are tried in state courts. Each lawsuit begins with an event that gives rise to a claim of malpractice—the basis for legal action—and ends with either a settlement by the parties or a judgment by a court. From beginning to end, a variety of legal maneuvers intervene. The legal process is outlined in Table 6.1. Each step in the process will be discussed in further detail.
Steps in the Legal Process