Medical Malpractice Settlement Negotiations: How Do They Work? August 11, 2023.
When a medical malpractice case arises, settlement negotiations are a common way for both sides to seek a fair resolution. Throughout the legal process, all parties present evidence to support their side of the story.
How do lawyers negotiate settlements? Medical malpractice settlement negotiations can occur at any point during the legal process but often happen after both parties have compiled and shared evidence. With a full picture of the medical care issues, both sides are better able to determine the value of a fair medical malpractice lawsuit settlement.
The Basics of Medical Malpractice Settlement Negotiations
Insurance companies and opposing counsel can be stubborn and aggressive. You, therefore, benefit from understanding the basics of medical malpractice settlement negotiations and working with a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer.
Key Parties Involved in Medical Malpractice Settlement Negotiations
The primary parties involved in medical malpractice settlement negotiations typically include:
- The injured party and their attorney
- The negligent doctor and their attorney
- The medical malpractice insurance company
- A representative of the medical organization
- Any other medical providers involved in the case
If the medical malpractice occurred in a medical organization such as a hospital, it may be named in the lawsuit. Even if it is not named in the lawsuit, the hospital or medical organization may have a contract with the doctor to provide legal support and representation.
Factors Affecting the Settlement Amount in Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases are highly personal, and details can vary significantly. It is impossible to predict medical malpractice payout, but settlement value is often affected by the following considerations:
- The severity of your injury or illness caused by medical malpractice
- The extent of the medical provider’s negligence
- The cost of hospital bills, procedures, medication, and other treatments to correct a misdiagnosis or medical error
- Whether your injuries resulted in permanent disability
- How your medical malpractice injuries affect your ability to work or engage in daily activities
- Whether you can care for yourself without assistance
- Whether you have visible scarring or disfigurement
- The credibility of witnesses or medical experts
- Whether you follow your doctor’s instructions
- Whether you had pre-existing conditions
Your medical malpractice settlement can also be greatly affected by whether you meet legal filing deadlines and evidentiary requirements. You therefore benefit from partnering with a skilled personal injury lawyer who specializes in medical negligence cases such as yours.
Negotiation Strategies for Medical Malpractice Settlements
To negotiate a fair settlement for medical negligence, you must gather sufficient evidence to prove that:
- Your doctor was negligent in their diagnosis or treatment of your condition.
- Their failure to adhere to the standard of care for their profession caused you to become ill or injured.
- Your illness or injury resulted in economic and non-economic damages.
Such evidence generally includes medical records and expert testimony regarding your condition, the doctor’s diagnostic methods, the treatment you received, and the standards of care for medical practitioners in the field.
Based on the available evidence, you and your personal injury lawyer can build a case to prove the health care provider’s negligence and claim damages for your losses. Losses you can claim in a medical malpractice lawsuit include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
The Role of Medical Experts in Settlement Negotiations
Medical expert opinions play a crucial role in a medical malpractice claim. Your claim relies on proving the doctor acted outside the standard of care for their field. An expert in the same field with similar credentials can review the details of your case and advise whether the diagnosing or treating medical professional was negligent in their duty of care.
Common Challenges and Pitfalls in Medical Malpractice Settlement Negotiations
Medical malpractice negotiations are complicated and often highly technical. Avoid these common pitfalls to ensure the best chance for a fair settlement:
- Not hiring a medical malpractice lawyer: If you do not have experience in medical malpractice law, you could harm your case if you attempt to handle it yourself. Medical malpractice attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you seek a fair settlement.
- Accepting the first settlement offer: The responsible party and their insurance company may try to reduce their liability by offering low medical negligence settlements in exchange for dropping the case. Patients who accept low offers without negotiating can find themselves paying significantly in the long run.
- Talking to the insurance company: You may receive calls from the insurance company representing the negligent doctor. Remember that the company will try to use anything you say to reduce the value of your settlement. Always consult with your attorney before discussing anything relating to your case.
- Posting on social media: Anything you discuss on social media is considered public information. Avoid making any comments about your case or making posts that could compromise your ability to seek compensation.
- Not filing a lawsuit: Some medical malpractice victims hesitate to file a lawsuit. Unfortunately, many doctors and medical providers will not even begin settlement discussions until you file a legal complaint. In addition, you could miss the statute of limitations deadline to file and lose your chance at a settlement altogether.
Your medical malpractice lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process and guide you in seeking the full compensation you deserve for your losses.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods in Medical Malpractice Cases
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to the use of mediation and arbitration to resolve disputes. This allows the patient and at-fault parties to negotiate a settlement through a mediator or arbitrator. Some healthcare organizations have other ADR options specific to their field or organization.
Rather than pursuing a lawsuit, both parties agree to be bound by the decision of the selected arbitrator or mediator. ADR can reduce the time and costs associated with a medical malpractice claim. Even if you opt to move forward with ADR, it is wise to have an attorney to help you gather evidence, build your case, and represent you.
Seek the Help of an Experienced Lawyer for Your Medical Malpractice Claim
The negotiating process can be challenging, especially while you recover from serious injuries caused by a medical provider’s negligence. Allow a medical negligence lawyer with Mellino Law to assist with your claim so you can focus on recovering your health.
Contact our medical malpractice lawyers today to discuss your legal options. A member of our legal team will review the details of your case and help you decide how best to move forward.