Several States require that a medical review panel or some other administrative process be convened BEFORE a patient can file a lawsuit against a physician or hospital for medical malpractice. Generally, the medical review panel process is a type of administrative process set up to determine whether a case of medical malpratice potentially exists. If a patient files a lawsuit against a physician or hospital without first requesting the formation of a medical review panel, that suit can be dismissed.
Depending on the type of administrative process involved, the evaluation of the claim of medical malpractice may take years to complete. Once this process is completed, the patient may then file a lawsuit in a State or Federal District Court and proceed through the typical litigation system.
Most medical review panel type systems utilize physician panel members who will review the medical records and claims of the patient or their family to determine whether they believe medical malpractice occurred. Since physicians generally do not like to testify against other physicians, it is rare that these types of panels find in favor of the patient.
If you are contemplating a claim against a physician, make sure you contact an experience medical malpractice attorney before trying to file a claim. They can guide you through the process.