Step 3: Obtain an Internal and External Case Review
An initial consultation may confirm that a case has legal merit; however, it does not guarantee it. Generally, further investigation is required.
At Stern Law, PLLC, a thorough internal case review will commence once a retainer and fee agreement is signed. At that time, an attorney or staff member at Stern Law, PLLC or an affiliated firm will conduct an internal case review. If needed, an external case review of merit, relying upon outside physicians or nurses, will take place. The next step likely will be to have the client sign a medical release form to obtain further health records from appropriate doctors and healthcare facilities.
What happens during a case review?
This consultation may include a thorough analysis of the circumstances surrounding the cause of a child’s injury and subsequent disability. The review also will place under examination a mother’s health history and social habits, as well as:
- The child’s medical test results
- Medical records
- Apgar scores
- Heart monitor strips
- Questions about a mother’s prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal experience
Parents will need to provide the names of their child’s primary care physicians. Attorneys for Stern Law, PLLC or an affiliated firm will review the information and determine any additional information that may be needed for an internal case review.
Internal case review
As a precursor to filing suit, an attorney will examine all aspects of the potential case and weigh it against existing regulations and rules of law to determine if the case justifies the pursuit of litigation. Under scrutiny are the indicators of medical malpractice or substandard care. The attorney will conduct his own internal review utilizing in-house resources.
A client will be heavily involved in this stage of the case, providing information from the child’s doctors and medical facilities. During this time, the attorney is building the case that an injury occurred as a result of negligence or failure to adhere to the standard of care to which parents expected and were entitled.
External case review
To discover additional information or to support the already existing evidence, independent outside sources may be consulted. These individuals may include professionals with specific technical knowledge required by the particular case circumstances.
The specifics of the case may implicate other attorneys, as well as parties including:
- Medical professionals
- Insurance representatives
- Risk managers
- Product manufacturers
The external review resources operate objectively and have no vested interest in the outcome of the case. They are often called on to present an impartial and fair opinion to the legal team or in front of the courts during a trial. The goal of the testimony of an independent witness is to add credibility to an argument.
In addition, the attorney may request the child undergo additional medical tests to verify the extent, location, severity, and probable cause of the impairment or disability. Actuaries may review the case for current and future lifetime care expenses for the purpose of calculating compensatory damages. To provide the necessary proof in court, these independent sources may be called upon to provide their professional testimony during the litigation process.
If the internal or external review determines that there is a meritorious basis for litigation, the decision to pursue legal action rests with the client. After internal and external medical review, the attorney will meet with a client to discuss the various findings with respect to the merit of the complaint. The attorney will offer an opinion of the options that may be at the client’s disposal. It is at this time that a client will need to decide whether or not to formally file a complaint in a court of law.
Should you decide to proceed with litigation, attorneys at Stern Law, PLLC can help you with the next step of your claim: Filing a complaint.