I am pursuing a medical malpractice case in TN pro se. TN requires a notice of intent to sue be sent to the potential defendants at least 60 days before a complaint can be filed (http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-29/chapter-26/part-1/29-26-121/). This can be done either by process server or by certified mail. I’m planning on using both methods, just to be safe.
For individual defendants (i.e. people), the statute requires that notifications by certified mail must be sent to the current business address and the address in a database maintained by the TN Department of Health (if different from the business address). If the defendant is an organization, such as a hospital, notifications by certified mail must be sent to the current business address and the address for the agent of service of process (if different).
How do I determine the defendant’s current business address? For businesses in general, it’s often different than the actual place of business. How do I determine the address for the agent of service of process? I’m not sure I would trust the defendants or their employees to tell me the truth if I just called them up and asked.
I was also wondering if organizations can be notified by process server, or must they be notified by certified mail?
Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.
We are duty bound to dissuade you from pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit on your own. Doing so is a recipe for disaster. You can be sure within hours of being served the doctor, hospital or other medical provider will retain counsel – probably a law firm with substantial experience in medical malpractice law.
You’ll be subject to a barrage of defense motions, including summary judgment, plea to the jurisdiction, abatement, motion to produce and more. All these motions have time limitations to answer. Next will be subpoenas duces tecum and subpoenas to you and your witnesses to appear for sworn depositions. The depositions will be grueling.
The question remains how you will be able to respond in kind. You will have to hire a court reporter to take the medical provider’s and any of his or her witnesses’ depositions. You’ll have to file motions in opposition. You’ll have to conduct extensive pretrial discovery, and more.
You can be confident the medical provider’s counsel will overwhelm you in many ways. There’s also a VERY good chance your lawsuit will be dismissed on legal technicalities.
Even if you were to survive the discovery phase you’ll be lost in the actual trial. This is assuredly not a small claims lawsuit. You’ll be in the major leagues of courts. Unlike small claims court, this judge won’t bend over backwards to help. If you don’t know proper trial protocol you’ll be in trouble, and quickly.
In the remote chance you might somehow make it through trial and win you can be sure the medical provider’s attorneys will appeal the case. Do you know appellate procedure? Have you every written an appellate brief? Even seasoned attorneys have trouble with writing appellate briefs and then appearing to argue them before the appellate court.
You really need to seek legal counsel. If you already have and you couldn’t find an attorney to take your case, that’s a good indication your case may be lacking merit.
Here’s the answer to your questions:
For the corporate address of the defendant(s) contact the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office. There you will also be able to find the designated agent for service of process for your medical provider. Use the drop down menu for “corporations” and also “summons.”
Learn more here: Filing a Lawsuit
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
Best of luck with your claim,
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