Whether there is a review panel for your medical malpractice case depends on your state laws. Some states require plaintiffs to file an affidavit in which a qualified medical expert certifies the claim has merit. Other states make medical malpractice cases go through a review panel. Some states require plaintiffs to meet both of these requirements.
To find out more about how such requirements may apply in your case, call Newsome Melton at 1-855-MED-ASKS. We can tell you the process that we will have to follow to pursue your claim.
What Does a Review Panel Do in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
The review panel determines if the doctor, hospital, or other health care provider met the standard of care when treating you.
How Do Different States Use Review Panels in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are a matter of state law. Accordingly, each state gets to create its own laws that apply to these cases. Here are some examples of how states evaluate medical malpractice lawsuits before trial.
Louisiana medical malpractice laws do not let you file a lawsuit until after you submit the claim to a medical review panel unless all parties agree to waive this process. Under state statutes, the panel must consist of three Louisiana health care providers and one lawyer. Each side chooses one health care provider. The lawyer chairs the panel but does not vote on the final opinion.
The review panel will issue one or more expert opinions that state the defendant did or did not meet the applicable standard of care, or that the court needs to rule on a material issue of fact that does not require an expert opinion. These opinions are admissible in court but are not conclusive on the issue of negligence.
Florida medical malpractice laws do not require arbitration of medical malpractice cases. However, state statutes allow a judge to order the parties to go through nonbinding arbitration if either party asks for it. If the case does not go to arbitration within 120 days of the filing of the lawsuit, the parties must see a mediator. The Florida statutes also mandate settlement conferences three weeks before trial in these cases.
In Michigan, medical malpractice victims must seek mandatory mediation for lawsuits. The mediation panel has five voting members. The plaintiff and defendant each choose one licensed or registered health care provider. The other three members of the mediation panel are licensed lawyers.
The panel must make a decision about the standard of care used in the case. If the panel votes unanimously that either the plaintiff’s accusation of malpractice is frivolous or that the defendant is raising a frivolous defense, the frivolous party will have to post a $5,000 bond before going forward with the lawsuit in the courts.
Can I Still File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit If the Medical Review Panel Ruled Against Me?
Usually, you can still file a lawsuit, but it may depend on the laws of your state. A negative opinion from a medical review panel will not automatically kill your case in a state that allows you to go forward with litigation, but the panel’s ruling may make it more difficult to win your lawsuit.
Are There Any Legal Challenges to Medical Review Panels?
A judge in Kentucky struck down the state’s law requiring medical review panels as unconstitutional because it restricts the right of people to access the courts. The judge disagreed that the purpose of the law is to discourage frivolous lawsuits. Instead, his order says the effect of the law is to erect barriers to the court system for those who cannot afford the increased expense and delays review panels create. The Kentucky Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. If the Kentucky Supreme Court finds the required use of medical review panels in medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional, other states might follow suit.
Newsome Melton Can Help With Your Medical Malpractice Case.
At Newsome Melton, we stay on top of developments in the law so we can best serve our clients. If you feel you may have suffered harm as the result of medical malpractice, call us at 1-855-MED-ASKS.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
- Are There Limitations on Damages In Florida Medical Malpractice Cases?
- How Can I Determine If a Doctor, Hospital, or Other Health Care Provider Has Committed Medical Malpractice?
- Do Statute of Limitations Apply in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits If Symptoms Were Present Immediately but Got Worse Recently?
- If I Can Prove That the Defendant Violated the Standard of Care, Does That Mean I Win My Case?
- How Long Do Medical Malpractice Cases Take?