When people are ill, they seek the medical treatment with the expectation that the team in charge of their care will fulfill their duties and treat them. Medical malpractice is when health professionals breach that duty and fail to provide quality care for patients. Medical malpractice cases can be very complicated and nuanced, especially when the cases involve more than one defendant. Extra preparation is necessary for Toledo medical malpractice cases involving multiple defendants, and a passionate medical malpractice lawyer could work tirelessly to prepare your case. Speak with a skilled attorney that could fight for you.
Litigation Process with More Than One Defendant
In Toledo medical malpractice cases involving multiple defendants, the plaintiff would go first and, if there is an agreement among the parties, they would present their case in whichever order the defendant has decided to present their case. If the defendants cannot agree, then usually it will be whoever was named first as the first defendant, then the second defendant, and then the third defendant. They would present their case in that order.
The only time the order of the case potentially can change is when either there is an agreement of the parties or there is a live witness that can only testify on a specific day. The court will indicate this for the record and will allow some witnesses to go out of order just because there is an out-of-town witness who is unavailable on other dates.
Impact Having Many Defendants Can Have on the Case
If there are multiple defendants in a medical malpractice case, sometimes the defendants will work together with a combination strategy to attack the plaintiff and, other times, the first defendant blames the second defendant and the second blames the first defendant or vice versa. So, the more parties to the case, the more potential for different styles and different outcomes in the case. Every case is different and no two cases are the same, but it tends to make a case more complicated and more interesting.
HIPAA With Multiple Defendants on the Stand
If someone files a medical malpractice case, they have waived their right to HIPAA law to apply to their medical records. Under HIPAA, the health privacy laws in the United States, the medical doctors cannot talk about their patient’s prior medical history or prior medical records. However, there is a waiver of the HIPAA laws if the patient has filed a medical malpractice case claiming that their doctors were negligent.
So, all of the records are fair game in Toledo medical malpractice cases involving multiple defendants unless one of the parties files something called a motion in limine, which is a pretrial motion to exclude the mention of certain pieces of evidence. Typically, a judge would grant that motion if the prejudice of allowing that information would outweigh its probative value, meaning, for example, if the medical malpractice case was about somebody not getting treated right for a heart attack and the individual had some sexually transmitted disease from 20 years ago that had nothing to do with the treatment for that heart attack, then they may say that it was a red herring issue and that the prejudice of bringing up that information might outweigh its probative value and, therefore, there would be a pretrial order from the court that the evidence would be excluded from being mentioned.
Navigating the Difficulties of Many Defendants While on Trial
Navigating the difficulties of Toledo medical malpractice cases involving multiple defendants can be difficult but lawyers are often prepared. A medical malpractice attorney would have spent a large amount of time preparing the case in the year or year and a half it would take from the time of filing a lawsuit to going to a trial. So, these are all situations for which the attorney in pretrial working on the case will hopefully be prepared. There are always situations during a trial that come up that the attorney did not expect and, in that case, the attorney could ask for a short continuance to do some quick legal research and better prepare for trial.
How a Toledo Medical Malpractice Attorney Could Present Their Argument
Typically, in Toledo medical malpractice cases involving multiple defendants, the attorney would present the accident victim, explain the history of the case, and the victim’s lay witnesses would talk about the injuries. The attorney would put on, potentially, multiple expert witnesses talking about the departure from the standard of care by each of the defendants in the case. So, for example, in a situation in which one doctor requested that a CAT-scan should be ordered and another doctor, the family doctor, refused to order the CAT-scan or make sure that the injured party got the CAT-scan and the first doctor did not insist on the CAT-scan being ordered, potentially, both doctors could be sued if it was determined that the lack of the CAT-scan was a departure from the standard of care. The attorney would have, for example, a family doctor expert who would testify as far as the standard of care for the family doctor. Then, the attorney would have a different expert, perhaps a radiologist, that would talk about the standard of care for the radiologist that did not insist on the CAT-scan being ordered. A capable medical malpractice attorney could devote the time and resources necessary to make a solid argument for the injured party, in pursuit of a positive outcome for them.