The process for St. Petersburg medical malpractice trials could be lengthy and complicated. In the State of Florida, litigation is defined by the filing of a lawsuit, and it could be filed if the case cannot be successfully resolved during Florida’s pre-lawsuit medical malpractice process. Most cases do not resolve during the pre-suit process because the settlement offers are typically insufficient.
When a lawsuit is filed, the discovery process can take anywhere from one to three years, after which a trial will be scheduled and will need to be completed if the case cannot be settled. Medical malpractice trials are typically at least one week in length and require a plaintiff to make a prima facie case in order to get it to the jury. A prima facie case with medical malpractice requires that the client prove that there was a breach of the applicable standards of medical care, and that said breach caused loss, injury, or damages to the client.
Speak to a seasoned medical malpractice attorney to learn about your rights, case process, and legal options to move forward.
Who Gives the Opening Statement and Closing Statements?
At the beginning of St. Petersburg medical malpractice trials, the plaintiff will give the initial opening statement. They will set forth the facts and evidence that the plaintiff anticipates will be presented during the trial. After the plaintiff’s opening statement is concluded, the defendant will then put on an opening statement, after which the presentation of evidence portion of the trial will commence.
In Florida trials, both parties will present a closing statement. The initial closing statement is presented by the plaintiff. Most plaintiffs’ medical malpractice attorneys reserve some time for a rebuttal closing, which would take place after the conclusion of the defendant’s closing arguments.
Who Presents Their Case First?
In a Florida medical malpractice case, the plaintiff or the party bringing the case will be presenting their case first. It is incumbent upon the plaintiff to put forth the required evidence to make a prima facie case for medical malpractice, which is a breach of the applicable standards of care, with causation of injury, assuming that a plaintiff has successfully presented evidence sufficient to make a prima facie case with medical malpractice. Then the defendant would follow with their defense after the plaintiff has rested their case.
Does the order in which the case is presented change when there are multiple defendants?
The order with which the case is presented does not change. However, there can be some opportunity for defendants, in cases where there are multiple defendants, to change the order that they present their cases.
The first defendant identified in the complaint will go first. However, it is not prohibited if there is an agreement for one of the other parties to proceed with their defense first.
Litigation Process with Multiple Defendants
When there are multiple defendants, the plaintiff will proceed first, and then each defendant during the litigation. For example, if the plaintiff were to schedule a witness for a deposition, they would start by asking direct examination questions of the witness. Then each of the defendants, through their counsel, would be given an opportunity to cross-examine said witness.
Trials are conducted procedurally in a similar fashion. During a plaintiff’s case, the plaintiff calls their witnesses and would proceed first to perform a direct examination of them, to be followed by a cross-examination from each defendant through their counsel, if they so desire.
After the plaintiff has rested their case, then each defendant would be given the opportunity to put on their own case and do a direct examination of their witnesses, to be followed by a cross-examination from the other parties.
The Benefits and Burdens of Litigation
Having multiple defendants can influence the outcome of a case. When there are multiple defendants to a medical malpractice case, it can present numerous benefits and burdens.
One of the benefits is that there is the opportunity to potentially resolve the case and obtain one or more settlements earlier, before trial. Settling with one of the multiple defendants can help offset case costs and reduce risk of proceeding to trial.
However, some of the burdens of prosecuting a medical malpractice case involving multiple defendants are that the litigation can take longer due to the involvement of multiple defendants. Scheduling is more difficult. Case-related events like depositions and hearings become more difficult to schedule as well as complete. It is not uncommon for multiple defendants to join together with a defense to offset expenses and strategize a joint defense, so that there is no type of finger-pointing between the defendants.
When they have a case involving multiple defendants who may be blaming or pointing the finger at one another, it can provide some strategic advantages to a plaintiff as well as increase the probability that at least one defendant will ultimately be held responsible by a jury at trial.
How a Medical Malpractice Attorney Could Help
When a negligent medical professional makes a mistake and causes you harm, you have the right to seek compensation. A skilled medical malpractice attorney could work to help you hold negligent medical professionals accountable for their actions.
Speak to a knowledgeable attorney to learn about the process for St. Petersburg medical malpractice trials. Schedule a consultation today.