Lewis & Tompkins, P.C. | Maryland | Virginia | Washington, D.C.

Free Consultations

PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us in person, via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

The timeline of a medical malpractice case

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Being the victim of medical malpractice can cause you extreme suffering and impact the rest of your life. You may be considering a medical malpractice case but have questions about how long the process will take.

As with almost any legal proceeding, medical malpractice cases can take time to reach a resolution or get to a trial. The exact length of time a medical malpractice case takes depends on your specific situation. It can take from a few months to several years.

Statute of limitations

First, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within the statute of limitations. This means it must be filed within a certain period after the malpractice occurs.

The statute of limitations in Maryland states that a medical malpractice claim must be filed within five years of the event that caused the injury or within three years after you discover the harm.

However, there are some exceptions to these rules, such as if you cannot file the claim because of your injury.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are based on the legal theory of negligence. Before you file your medical malpractice claim, you should consult with a medical expert who practices in the same or similar field as the doctor you believe committed medical malpractice against you.

Notice of intent

After that, you must typically send a notice to the negligent physician or medical provider. The notice states that you intend to file a lawsuit and contains certain information, such as the basis for the lawsuit and the injuries that you suffered.

This notice must usually be sent a certain number of days or weeks before filing the medical malpractice lawsuit. The purpose is to put the doctor on notice that you believe they committed malpractice and give them time to prepare or attempt to settle the matter.


Once the deadline for the intent to file notice has passed, you may file your lawsuit. The next step is the discovery process. This is where you and the other side exchange information and documents with each other.

The discovery process also often includes depositions, where both sides interview witnesses under oath. The discovery process is one of the most important pieces of the case. It usually provides each side a chance to examine the evidence received to assess the strength of their case.

Settlement negotiations

When the discovery process is complete, settlement negotiations begin. This involves discussions between both sides to see if an agreement can be reached.

The length of time for settlement negotiations depends on the law involved, the complexity of the case and various other factors. Although many cases do settle rather than go to trial, it is important to remember that the doctor, medical facility and their insurance provider’s goal is usually to pay out as little as possible.

Your case goes to trial if you cannot reach an agreement during settlement negotiations. You might be required to go to arbitration or mediation before or as an alternative to trial.

The wait can be worth it

The time it takes to resolve a case does not necessarily depend on the strength of the case. You might have a strong case that still takes years to resolve, or a case that resolves quickly with an unfavorable result toward you.

You may feel discouraged knowing that you might have to wait longer than you would like to get compensation for your injury. However, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is often the best and only way to hold those at fault for your injuries accountable and help you receive compensation for your damages.