Medical malpractice cases have fewer settlements primarily because defendants often win medical malpractice suits, and many of the plaintiffs who win recover little or no money. Additionally, it is not unusual for insurance companies to press for a trial rather than of a settlement or make an admission of liability. Doctors also have an incentive to fight against cases of malpractice because if they lose a medical malpractice case they will have to report instances of medical malpractice for future insurance purchases. Multiple malpractice lawsuits could also hurt their medical practice.
Experts also note that if there is an out of court settlement it may be offered late, after the prosecution and defense have filed motions and completed discovery, allowing counsel time to review the strengths and weaknesses of each party's case.
The plaintiff's medical malpractice lawyer may also delay accepting a settlement too quickly to avoid getting an amount which does not fully compensate the plaintiff. Sometimes it is the plaintiff's lawyer who fights to take the case to trial. It is not unusual for the amount awarded at trial to be more than the settlement offer, even if it is less than the plaintiffs' estimates of their damages.
If you have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit and the defense lawyer and their client have offered a settlement offer it is important to consider how much time it can take to win a medical malpractice case in court. For example, it is not unusual for a medical malpractice trial and appeal to take several years. How long your medical malpractice case will take will depend on the complexity of the medical malpractice case and the number of witnesses.
It is important to ask yourself how long you want to wait for your payout. Additionally, medical malpractice cases are won more frequently by defendants than other injury claims. So if you do decide to take a case to court there is a chance that you will recover nothing.
With that said, if you want to obtain a fair value for your medical malpractice case you need to thoroughly and properly prepare for trial. By hiring a reputable firm and medical malpractice lawyer to prepare for trial, settlements are more common, and generally higher. What if you do not want accept a settlement? Talk to your medical malpractice lawyer about the risk and benefits of any settlement option. Keep in mind, the decision to accept a settlement is your decision, not your medical malpractice lawyers.
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