The Timeline Of A Medical Malpractice Case: Part 4 – Settlement

The first and foremost priority of the experienced personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at Powell Law is helping our clients completely recover their losses. If you require legal counsel and assistance in litigating a claim for damages resulting from any incident of a medical mistake, contact Powell Law. A qualified Powell Law attorney may evaluate the merits and viability of a potential medical malpractice claim.

A very high percentage of medical malpractice cases settle out of court since litigating a case expends valuable resources such as time and money. Typically, only those cases where the parties cannot find common ground to agree on a settlement amount actually proceed to trial and only as a final option.

Many personal injury cases are settled before the plaintiff files its lawsuit. In medical malpractice cases, pre-lawsuit settlements are not typical, but they do occur in some circumstances. More often, and especially in bigger medical malpractice cases, the defendants’ insurance carriers are disinterested in settlement negotiations until a lawsuit has been filed and some pretrial investigation has been conducted.

No defendant wants to unnecessarily expend money for legal fees and the cost of expert witnesses. Both are potentially more than exorbitant when a defense verdict is highly unlikely. Once the merits of the case are established through discovery and the opinions of medical experts, the defense will likely pursue settlement of the case out of court to cut its losses. Avoiding trial eliminates a substantial part of these prospective losses.

The stronger the plaintiff’s case is on its merits, i.e., the higher the likelihood of a verdict for the plaintiff, the greater the bargaining power of the plaintiff’s attorney in settlement negotiations. If the defense’s settlement offer is unreasonable, the plaintiff may always take the case to trial, which is just what the defense wants to avoid. Thus, the threat of litigating a medical malpractice case may be a valuable and persuasive bargaining chip.

While jury awards generally are more than twice settlement amounts, jury awards lack one thing that settlements do not: Certainty.

When you consider that medical malpractice litigation is expensive and time-consuming, settlement and its characteristic tangible award are attractive to many plaintiffs. There is always the possibility that a case’s merits may be overestimated. If this happened after the plaintiff refuses a settlement offer, it would be more than regrettable later if the plaintiff eventually loses and receives nothing or a smaller award.

There are exceptions to almost every rule, and there are surely certain instances when a jury trial may be necessary to fairly compensate a plaintiff who has been injured by an incident of medical malpractice. In this circumstance, last-minute offers by the defendant in the courtroom, immediately before a trial begins, are not out of the ordinary occurrences.

Hiring a seasoned attorney with many years of experience litigating medical malpractice cases sends a message to defendants: If you do not offer a reasonable (large) settlement amount, my attorney will not hesitate to take the case to trial, especially if the merits of the case are unquestionably strong.

Attorneys must have the ability and expertise to analyze all legal and technical issues of a medical malpractice case. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. Our decades of experience make us the preferred choice for representation in personal injury and medical malpractice matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. Our attorneys, past and present, have represented victims for 113 years. The consultation is FREE, and you don’t pay anything unless we win your case. Call today.

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