Basic tips for bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Idaho:
In Idaho, there are three key time limits that a patient needs to be aware of in bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. First, if the hospital is a governmental entity, such as a county hospital, there is a 180 day notice of tort claim deadline. Second, before a lawsuit is filed, you have to file for a review with the Idaho State Board of Medicine's Pre-Litigation Screening Panel. Third, generally speaking, you only have two years from the date of the alleged negligence within which to actually file a lawsuit. Do not delay, as these deadlines are all critical.
Your prospective lawyer will want to review the details of the case. He or she will first need to look at all of the relevant medical records. The lawyer will need to see if the records document anything that may have been done wrong. The lawyer will next want to have an expert in the particular medical field review the records to see if a case can be proven. Finally, the lawyer will want to evaluate the injuries the alleged negligence caused to get an idea of the possible areas of damages.
If your lawyer accepts your case, he or she will file the proper paperwork with the Idaho State Board of Medicine. Then, after an advisory decision is issued, the lawyer must wait 30 days, and then a lawsuit can be filed. Once a lawsuit is filed, each side will send the other written information requests, called discovery requests. Your lawyer will depose the opposing witnesses and you will be deposed by the defendant's lawyers as well. The case will be set for a trial, usually about a year to year-and-a-half down the road. As discovery proceeds, the other side may want to settle, if not the case proceeds to trial. Experts will be called on the standard of care, injuries, and damages. A verdict will be reached, which can then be appealed. This is a long process and requires patience.
Idaho State Board of Medicine; American Association for Justice; Idaho Trial Lawyers Association