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Reston, Virginia, 28 March, 2000

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Picture this... An attorney inexperienced in medical malpractice matters works up a case to the point where s/he's convinced it's meritorious. Relying on their own judgment, or on the opinion of someone who's not really qualified, s/he has filed a well pleaded malpractice action but waits until shortly before the naming of experts deadline to find, contact and get appropriate medical experts' input. The attorney calls TAB, experts are quickly found and records are rushed by overnight courier, but the doctors finds no malpractice! The attorney now faces a difficult and embarrassing - if not costly or even sanctionable - situation with a very unhappy client, opposition and court.

Frightening, don't you think?

We think so too. The fact that an expert has an opinion adverse to the position of a plaintiff's attorney is usually because the attorney didn't have the benefit of the expert's clinical experience, may have overlooked relevant literature, or simply didn't understand all the possibilities or medical options well enough.

For nearly twenty years TAB has been providing the services of board certified medical experts to review potential medical malpractice cases. During that time we've seen the last minute crises described above many times. We've also seen many medical malpractice reviews that go over as smooth as glass.

Checklists help us get through a busy day, and while seasoned malpractice veterans may not need it, here's a short one that we hope will make your job - and ours - a little easier.

Organize all Medical Records and other Relevant Items. Be as thorough as you can and obtain all the pertinent information that medical experts may need, then organize them as if you worked for Encyclopedia Britannica.

Become as Thoroughly Versed in the Technical Aspects of the Case as Practical, short of actually performing the medical/surgical procedure yourself.

Be Clear About Your Objectives and Theories.

SEEK EXPERT INPUT EARLY - BEFORE FILING SUIT! Everyone's interests can be better served if you know what the experts think A.S.A.P. - whether they support the case or not. Early expert input can help you plan and act more effectively, identify possible unsuspected statute of limitations issues, and so much more.

Our experts will consider your theories and objectively review the file, but will form their own opinion as to if there was any deviation from the standard of care of the medical specialty involved. And while there's always a possibility that they'll find no deviation, there's a better chance they'll support your findings and theories when the material you supply is well-organized, thorough, and clear regarding your objectives.

* This Article was Provided by the Technical Assistance Bureau.