In Determining When Your Medical Malpractice Case Has Merit, expert witness Barry E. Gustin, MD, MPH, FAAEM, and primary founder of the American College of Forensic Medicine, writes that “To accept or reject a medical negligence case: this is the single most important decision you will make when processing a medical negligence case.” Choosing unwisely, either a case with good potential will be lost or an unmeritorious case will tie you up for long periods of time resulting in great expense.
To make an informed decision about accepting a case, you must have the facts, not only those you obtain from your client, but more importantly, those obtained from qualified medical experts after a thorough review of the medical records.
It is not enough to have medical records reviewed by just anyone. Medical records should be screened by those specially capable of understanding and identifying all medical-legal issues. These individuals should be experienced in medical-legal analysis and board-certified in the medical specialty where the alleged negligence occurred. Even better, the medical records can be reviewed in a collaborative setting, where the records are screened by one board-certified physician who then confers with other medical specialists to form consensus opinions.