Healthcare professionals at all levels need to understand the medical malpractice lawsuit process. That is especially true because medical lawsuits involve emotions as much as money. So here, we have outlined what a physician can expect in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Since 1991, the average amount that US medical practitioners paid for malpractice cases over one half million dollars rose. In 1991, it stood just over $1 billion and, in 2017, totaled more than $2.5 billion. New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania medical professionals spent the most.
The Patient and Attorney Stand to Benefit from Medmal
Injured patients who suspect medical wrongdoing, or tort, may visit an attorney. Malpractice attorneys know the law inside and out. In addition, they receive personal gain when professional negligence enters litigation.
What a Physician can Expect in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
When a patient takes a valid legal injustice claim to a lawyer, malpractice specialists will recognize it. That is because their livelihood comes from challenging and sinking healthcare practitioners' defense. That's why all professional medics need to understand the basic process.
Notice of Filing a Lawsuit
When a patient and legal counsel deem a case worth pursuing, they notify the suspect. By then, the accusor has already gathered paperwork and evidence for the claim.
Since the statute of limitations limits process duration, prosecutors work swiftly to file. Failure to file the lawsuit on time may forfeit the right to pursue compensation.
As a result, a physician in the lawsuit process must contact his or her insurance broker immediately to seek legal counsel. Responsible brokers carry medical malpractice insurance from policy providers with experienced, specialized attorneys. They understand what a physician can expect in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The Discovery Process
Once notified, a discovery process is what a doctor should expect in a medical malpractice lawsuit. A defending physician, after receiving a filing notice, must respond quickly. The discovery process consists of both sides requesting information, evidence and related documentation. Both try to gather facts, looking for evidence to build their respective cases.
Expert Medical Witnesses
Eventually, discovery leads to consultation with a neutral third party expert medical witness. Depending upon the circumstances, it may call for a medical specialist or generalist.
This witness evaluates the information from both sides of the case. He or she establishes a standard of care based on accepted practices and legalities.
Comparing the circumstances to this standard determines if negligence occurred. It also clarifies how it happened. The witness may also determine if it led to other undue injury or damages.
During the discovery period, the medical expert determines whether the case has merit. If so, the defense may try to settle the case out of court.
The Settlement Offer
In negotiation, the plaintiff layer will seek maximum compensation. And, it stands to reason that the negligent professional wants to minimize damages.
But, many cases end in settlement. A negligent party rarely wants to go to trial. While settlements get into the news, trials put the spotlight on the situation.
A negligent healthcare provider may settle out of court by making an offer. By offering to settle out of court medical institutes can stave off some of the most damaging impacts: stress, expenses, time investment, and bad press.
Over 90% of medical malpractice cases settle out of court, and for good reason. Neither side wants to go to court, because it is expensive and time-consuming.
Hedging Court Risks with Settlement Offers
Learning what a physician can expect in a medical malpractice lawsuit plays a key role in answering a key question: Do high settlement costs outweigh the benefits of staying out of court? Medical malpractice litigation is expensive and time-consuming. Even extensive investment cannot guarantee a clean outcome.
Sometimes plaintiff cases stand a strong chance of winning a trial. When this occurs, the patient may turn down a modest settlement. Even a generous settlement may not suffice. Remember, emotions play in the medmal lawsuit too.
Defense attorneys sometimes wait to make more substantial settlement offers. They may even propose the change only moments before opening remarks. This strategy pressures plaintiffs to decide before proceeding.
Other cases have much lower probability of winning a court trial. In these situations, physician attorneys may offer modest settlements. So hedging the bet can yield minimal damages regardless of the plaintiff's decision.
You Now Know ...
What a Physician Can Expect in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
The best defense against medical malpractice lawsuits is knowing what a physician can expect in a medical malpractice lawsuit. An insurance broker can not only provide your practice with the best options. But, your strategic benefits manager, he or she can also quickly and efficiently get your legal defense moving. Understanding the medical malpractice lawsuit processes help medical practitioners prepare for the process.