Most medical malpractice lawsuits never reach the light of the courtroom.
The vast majority of these cases, around 90%, are settled out of court as a negotiated settlement with the healthcare provider’s malpractice insurance company. Only a small percentage, around 7%, of medical malpractice cases end in a trial involving a jury verdict.
Reaching an agreement early on through settlement negotiations can be advantageous for both the plaintiff and defendant.
For the plaintiff, reaching a settlement is often easier and quicker than going to trial. You have a higher likelihood of receiving a payout. For the doctors and healthcare providers, they can avoid the bad publicity and embarrassment of a public trial.
If you or your loved one recently experienced trauma, pain, or suffering caused by a doctor’s malpractice, you may be eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Continue reading to learn the steps of filing a malpractice lawsuit and how negotiation settlements work with the doctor’s malpractice insurance company.
What is a Negotiated Settlement?
Negotiated settlements typically occur during the mediation phase of the lawsuit. They can, however, take place at any point in the case. The plaintiff, defendants, and their attorneys try to negotiate a deal that’s fair for both sides and agree on a monetary value.
Negotiating a settlement can involve give and take from both sides to reach an agreement. The case will close and not proceed to trial when the two parties reach an agreement.
Negotiating a settlement has many benefits that are advantageous for the plaintiff, including:
- Quicker resolution than proceeding to trial
- Lower lawyer fees, because the process involves fewer hours and court dates
- More confidentiality, especially if the plaintiff wants to maintain their privacy
- Better odds of receiving a financial settlement, rather than taking it all the way to the trial
There are instances when you will not want to settle out of court. But these cases are rarer and harder to win. Talk with your lawyer about your specific case to see if it’s worth bringing it all the way to trial. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your specific medical malpractice lawsuit.
How do Settlement Negotiations Work?
Before an attorney will take your medical malpractice case, you must first be able to prove that your doctor was negligent and that their negligence directly caused your injuries or personal losses.
This first step for building your case is documenting as much evidence to show that your doctor or healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, and breached that duty of care.
This means proving that your specific doctor failed to recognize or act quickly when another similarly trained doctor wouldn’t have made the same mistakes that lead to your malpractice.
The following are the most common forms of medical malpractice lawsuits:
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries
- Prescription drug errors
- Failure to treat
- Hospital malpractice
- Medical product liability
What Does Your Settlement Include?
Once you have determined your doctor or healthcare provider is at fault, come up with a monetary value to negotiate for.
Examples of expenses to keep track of to help you determine your lawsuit’s value, include:
- Medical expenses (hospital bills, physical therapy, medication, prosthesis, medical equipment, etc.)
- Lost wages due to being out of work
- Loss of future wages as a result of a permanent injury
- Pain and suffering caused by the doctor’s negligence
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disability
Accepting or Rejecting the Offer from the Medical Providers’ Insurance
Once you have convinced your attorney that you have a case, you must file a lawsuit in order to reach a settlement negotiation. Medical providers’ malpractice insurance companies won’t negotiate with you unless you first file a lawsuit.
The negotiations agreements begin when the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company is notified of your medical malpractice lawsuit.
During this mediation phase, the malpractice insurance company may make a settlement offer to you.
It is your right to accept or reject the offer, and reaching a settlement before trial is your voluntary choice as a plaintiff. Every malpractice case is different and its circumstances will dictate whether or not you should accept or reject the initial settlement. Your personal attorney will advise you on the best course of action to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Before the settlement can be finally reached, the doctor or healthcare provider being sued must give their approval over the medical malpractice case, which may be difficult depending on the specific case.
How Long Do Settlement Negotiations Take?
Because every medical malpractice lawsuit is different, there’s no average timeframe for the entire process of filing the claim to receiving your settlement payout. However, it can often last several months up to years before the claim is finally settled.
A settlement can be reached during any point of the lawsuit, from early on in the process to right before the court date. Every case is unique and our attorneys seek resolution early on in the process through settlement.
Factors that affect the lawsuit’s timeline include:
- Gathering medical records and building a case
- Waiting for court dates, which may be scheduled several months in the future
- Waiting for the plaintiff to finish healing, so the medical bills and full extent of the injuries are documented
- Medical investigators examining the case to see if there was a breach in the standard of care and that the breach was the cause of the client’s injuries or death
- Interviewing witnesses, including expert medical witnesses
Book Your No-Cost Consultation Today
Grover Lewis Johnson has a proven track record of leading numerous successful trials.
Our company has over 25 years of experience handling medical malpractice litigation and carefully selects all of our cases to ensure the highest rate of success for our clients. We seek resolution early on through settlement negotiations.
However, if taking your malpractice case to trial is the best option, we will use our expertise to help you win and get the compensation you deserve.
We work on a contingency fee basis — you won’t pay any fees until your case is won or settled. Start your malpractice case today. Book a no-cost consultation with one of our Medical Malpractice attorneys.