In the wake of a serious tragedy, Pennsylvania residents often have many more questions than answers. Confusion can reign supreme as even those closest to the incident attempt to piece together what happened and why it happened.
This is often the case when it comes to surgical errors and other doctor mistakes. Patients who have suffered personal injury, or those who have lost a loved one because of a fatal medical error, may be left in the dark as to what happened. As discussed last week in this blog, these questions are often left unanswered by the doctor and hospital, as a code of silence may engulf them in an attempt to avoid taking responsibility.
Fortunately, there are ways of getting the necessary information and holding the doctor and hospital accountable for their actions. Informal investigation often takes place before a lawsuit is filed, including a discussion with other medical experts about what went wrong and what should have been done instead by the doctor.
In the lawsuit itself, there are discovery rules that apply to allow both sides to gain information about the case. Discovery is intended to be a very broad and all-encompassing process, as parties are able to obtain information about any matter that is relevant to the proceeding. This might include information about witnesses who have knowledge of the situation, documents or other tangible things that shed light on the situation or any other matter that relates to the case.
There are different types of discovery methods available, including questions that may be asked in the form of written interrogatories or through an oral deposition. The particularly discovery method that works best will vary depending on the case and the information that is sought.
Source: The Pennsylvania Code, "Rule 4003.1. Scope of discovery generally. Opinions and Contentions.," accessed on Oct. 1, 2016