The percentage of medical malpractice lawsuits that settle out of court is hard to say. Department of Justice statistics note that 7% of medical malpractice cases end in a trial, so the others either drop their claims or settle. Although, 95% of personal injury claims settle before trial.
Settlements do not become part of the public record, while a judgment in a court case is a public record. Consequently, percentages regarding pre-trial settlements are estimates.
Why Don’t More Medical Malpractice Claims Settle Before a Trial?
The most common reason for a personal injury or medical malpractice case to settle out of court rather than going to trial is to resolve the case for a sum certain. Should the case go to trial, a judge or jury will decide the outcome.
Also, medical malpractice cases often are more complex. For instance, medical professionals may believe they were in the right and choose to fight the case at trial.
The malpractice insurance company may similarly believe the jury will favor the doctor’s trustworthiness in a trial, meaning they perceive a better outcome at trial than trying to settle out of court.
Why Do Medical Professional Prefer Trial to Settling?
When a medical professional’s insurance company must pay for medical malpractice, this payment may become part of a report to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Medical professionals often want to avoid inclusion in this data bank, as it shows an error in care. Some doctors may prefer to fight against the claim of malpractice in court to avoid reporting a mistake on their record.
Malpractice Insurance Companies Often Believe They Have an Advantage
Malpractice cases often involve deciphering medical jargon and reading complex medical reports to determine what happened. Medical insurers could feel like they have an advantage on a victim who does not deal with these cases regularly.
This complexity is a significant difference between medical malpractice and personal injury claims. Finding a Columbus personal injury attorney with the following can help even the playing field against the malpractice insurance company:
- Experience with malpractice cases
- The ability to understand medical reports
Why Should I Choose to Settle a Malpractice Case Before Going to Trial?
If you have legal representation in your malpractice case, the attorney could recommend how you should proceed. Should the insurance company make a settlement offer to you, you and your lawyer would want to weigh the pros and cons of accepting the settlement or continuing to a trial.
Advantages to the Victim When Settling Early
Trials are expensive for both the plaintiff and the defendant. As the victim of medical malpractice, you and your Columbus medical malpractice attorney could choose to accept a settlement to ensure you receive a guaranteed amount and avoid the costs of a trial.
Even though you might win more at trial, you also could lose the trial, leaving you with no compensation.
Settling out of court speeds up the process of receiving your payment as well. A malpractice case can last a long time.
Advantages to the Medical Professional When Settling Early
Medical professionals and their malpractice insurance companies may prefer agreeing to a pre-trial settlement when they believe a trial is not in their favor. The doctor may prefer to end the process early, allowing the doctor to move forward without a malpractice trial.
Additionally, the medical professional might prefer to settle to avoid public scrutiny if the case could draw media attention through a trial.
Disadvantages to the Victim When Settling Early
If you choose to settle your malpractice case without going to trial, you could end up agreeing to a smaller settlement than you could win at trial.
If the insurance company offers you a small settlement, it may be advantageous to allow the trial to start. If the malpractice insurer believes it is losing the trial, it may make a significantly larger settlement offer to you during the trial.
You can settle the case at any point before the judge or jury returns a verdict.
We Will Work Toward Your Best Possible Settlement
When you hire The Fitch Law Firm LLC, you can trust that we will work as hard as we can to ensure the best possible settlement for you. This could involve going to court or settling before a trial verdict occurs. We have secured positive case results for many victims. Let us represent you too.
For a free medical malpractice case review, contact us today by phone or online. You are under no obligation to hire us after this free consultation. We can discuss the percentage of medical malpractice lawsuits that settle and the likelihood of the negligent party settling in yours.
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