Many medical providers are conscientious professionals who provide quality care to their patients. Unfortunately, when they fail to meet proper standards of care, patients can suffer serious injury or death. If you have been hurt or have lost a loved one and you are considering filing a medical malpractice claim, it is important to understand that these types of cases are extremely complex. Even the best medical malpractice attorneys sometimes find it challenging to reach a fair settlement without taking a case to court.
In any personal injury claim, a plaintiff must prove that another person’s or entity’s negligence or willful misconduct caused harm. Accomplishing this on your own is difficult, especially in medical malpractice cases. Finding a good injury lawyer who has a record of success winning malpractice cases is critical to helping you recover the maximum amount of compensation to which you may be entitled.
Types of Damages
Once liability has been determined, your lawyer will place a value your claim. There are two main types of damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice settlement. Economic damages are quantifiable losses and expenses, such as the cost of additional necessary medical treatment received due to a medical professional’s negligence. It is much more challenging to put a dollar amount on non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
In some states, there are limits on medical malpractice settlement amounts. Insurance companies definitely keep this in mind when negotiating with injured patients, so it is essential to hire an experienced accident injury lawyer who is familiar with the laws of your state.
Medical Malpractice Settlement Negotiations
To begin negotiations with a health care provider or his/her insurance company, your attorney may send a demand letter informing him/her that you intend to file a claim against him/her. Although your attorney will most likely negotiate with the medical provider’s insurance company, the provider may have to approve the settlement before it can be finalized. This can drag-out negotiations and lead to costly court litigation.
Insurance companies also tend to be less willing to acquiesce to an injured patient’s demands in medical malpractice cases. If a medical provider is convinced that he/she did not commit any wrongdoing or wishes to avoid skyrocketing insurance premiums, he/she may stick it out and advise the insurer to take your claim to court. If your attorney reaches a settlement with all involved parties, it may also have to be approved by the court, especially in cases involving minors.
Medical Malpractice Settlement Payments
There are several factors that are taken into account when determining how a settlement will be paid, including the injured person’s age, the nature of their injuries, and the laws of the jurisdiction where the case is negotiated. A medical malpractice settlement may be paid through a structured settlement, a lump sum, or a combination of both. Typically, the settlement check will be sent to your attorney who deposits it into an escrow account. After deducting attorney fees and other expenses associated with your case, you will receive the remainder of the settlement.