Settling a Raleigh Medical Malpractice Case
There is always an option to resolve medical malpractice disputes through settlements, short of a trial. The decision whether to take a settlement or go to trial should be made by both the client and the lawyer. Ultimately, the client has the authority to settle his or her claim. However, in the attorney-client relationship, it is the job of the lawyer to advise the client about potential upside or downside risks associated with going to a trial.
If you or a loved one has recently suffered from medical malpractice, contact an experienced malpractice lawyer in Raleigh to learn more with a free consultation.
Settlement v. Trial
A person may not want to go to trial and instead wants to settle due to the risks associated with trial. A client could potentially achieve a less favorable outcome, depending on the players and issues involved in a trial, or the jurisdiction in which the case will be tried. All of those things can greatly affect the outcome as well as the potential jury pool.
Someone might refuse to take a settlement offer and instead go to trial when the settlement offer is such that the client really has no choice but to go to trial. In other words, the settlement offer is for far less than the reasonable expected outcome of a trial.
When considering a settlement, the injured party should consider the costs involved with not settling, including additional case expenses, additional time, worry, and anxiety about the outcome of the case. Litigation and trials take an emotional toll and clients should consider this when considering a settlement. If the parties are able to resolve their claim, usually the terms of their agreement are reduced to writing. All of the parties must agree to and carry out the terms of the agreement that was reached.
Determining Settlement Amount
Ultimately, both parties determine the amount of the settlement when they reach an agreement. Plaintiffs make demands for settlement and defendants make offers to settle. To the extent that they can agree on a number, both parties determine the amount of the settlement.
Every case is different in calculating the settlement. It depends on the harm caused, the facts of the case, and whether there are punitive damages available for potentially egregious conduct. These factors will play into the settlement award calculation. Generally, the jury does not have any involvement in how a settlement is calculated.
The length of time to receive a settlement varies from case to case. Once the parties have reached an agreement, a settlement is generally resolved within 30 days. However, depending on the circumstances, the time could be longer or shorter. Whether the process is expedited is determined by the agreement of the parties.
One of the big issues when trying to negotiate a settlement is any debt owed to medical providers and/or health insurance carriers. This can delay someone from receiving their settlement. To ensure that someone receives their settlement in a timely manner, they can identify early all of the factors that might affect the timeline in achieving a settlement. Identifying them early and being proactive in the process can reduce or eliminate any delaying effect that those parties might have on the outcome of the settlement.
Benefit of an Attorney
When going to an initial consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer, a person should take all information available to them regarding the incident giving rise to the claim. That includes medical records, prescription bottles, as well as the names of witnesses or other people who might have relevant information. Everything relevant to the claim should be brought to the first meeting with the lawyer.
An experienced attorney can help determine the value of a settlement by gathering all the evidence about the damages caused by this particular instance of conduct, research outcomes of cases with similar facts, and get information about the jurisdictions where those types of cases were held to determine how juries in those jurisdiction decided cases.
Medical malpractice is a niche area of the law. A Raleigh attorney who has handled similar cases before can advise a potential client about possible consequences of the settlement, or whether additional claims could be brought against another party. They can also be proactive in the process and assist in understanding the facts and potential delays inherent to the facts of an individuals case.