When a medical malpractice claim has been filed, a question that lingers is whether or not to take the case to court. Most cases do not see the courtroom because they are settled and then everyone moves on. However, there are times when the settlement process is not successful and the courtroom is the only way to achieve a suitable outcome.
Before taking a malpractice claim to court, the attorney defending the doctor in the case will evaluate all evidence to determine whether or not they can win in court. If it is found that the client cannot be defended successfully, a settlement will be offered to the plaintiff. This settlement will be what the defense considers fair.
The negotiation process can take as long as a year, so the better the plaintiff’s evidence that malpractice occurred the more leverage there is to ensure an adequate settlement amount quickly.
It is when the settlement amount is not enough that the case can go to trial. If the defense attorney will not offer a fair settlement amount, the plaintiff can choose to take the dollar amount or to take the case to court. If court is the preference, then it could be a year or more before any money is seen. This can be attributed to the complexity of a medical malpractice case and the slow nature of these types of trials.
Deciding to Go to Court
The fact that the trial can take so long to acquire any money is why going to court is a hard decision. This is why it is good for the plaintiff to initially have more evidence than the defense. The prosecuting attorney will do everything in his or her power to produce the evidence needed to force a fair settlement so that court can be avoided, but it is when the settlement is not fair that a very important decision has to be made.
The decision is difficult because during this time the plaintiff is dealing with medical bills, pain, suffering, and a variety of other problems stemming from the alleged malpractice incident. There are times when the plaintiff’s attorney can arrange for a little money to be paid up front to take care of some expenses while the case is pending, but even that is not enough. The only other alternative to court in this case is to take the settlement, which may still not be enough. This is why some individuals choose to move to trial.
To go to Court or not go to Court?
Once the math is figured on medical expenses, childcare costs, lost wages due to the inability to work, and other expenses that have been incurred, settlements usually do not add up. If the plaintiff is willing to wait for the trial to commence and for the trial process to complete so that they can acquire a large amount of money, then the wait can be very rewarding. Going to court can be a tedious process, but one that pays off if the plaintiff decides that the settlement is not an amount that will sustain their quality of life.
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