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Research states that more than 90% of medical malpractice lawsuits are finally settled out of court, and a big driving force behind this practice is money! Quite frequently, the jury awards for medical malpractice cases hover well above the $1 million mark.

Research states that more than 90% of medical malpractice lawsuits are finally settled out of court, and a big driving force behind this practice is money! Quite frequently, the jury awards for medical malpractice cases hover well above the $1 million mark.

Many times, the out of court settlements happen through a series of negotiations, where the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney and the insurance company are equal participants in the decision-making process. Moreover, state-specific laws relating to medical malpractice can further limit the scope of such negotiations.

Settlements provide a solution to lengthy court trials

Generally, if medical malpractice cases have to be settled through a full jury trial, the entire process can be lengthy, complicated, and a disruption to normal life. Thus, in many cases, after discussing the details of the case with the medical malpractice attorney and the defendant’s insurance company, the plaintiff may decide to go for an out of court settlement.

However, this negotiation process has a definite structure which often begins with a notice to the defendant doctor and the defendant’s insurance company.

The doctor’s obligation to keep insurance company informed

Normally the insurance companies require that their insured doctors will keep them informed of any potential claim settlements in a timely manner. If the doctors fail to meet this obligation, their insurance coverage may be discontinued. This requirements provides the insurance companies a perfect opportunity to intervene and persuade their doctor client to go for a trial and go through the motion before contemplating am out of court settlement.

In cases where a doctor has been sued for a minor and established malpractice, both the doctor and the insurance company may unanimously agree on an out of court settlement for two reasons: the settlement value may be small and the decision will save all the involved parties a lot of future headaches.

Usually, once the insurance company gets a notification from their doctor client that a settlement is in the offing, immediately the insurance company will get involved and clamp down the process through a myriad of legal and procedural red tape.

Another problem with out of court settlements is that US states require medical practitioners to report settlements cases related to medical malpractice, which could have a negative impact on their future licensing, insurance renewals, and professional credibility.

Thus, medical malpractice cases generally do not go for out of court settlements. The case settlement can happen at any stage during legal proceedings, but the assistance of an informed mediator may be sought to resolve differences between the plaintiff and the defendant a large part of which is financial agreement.

An Attorney is Your Best Ally

Here are some situations where an out of court settlements can actually work in favor of a doctor or a medical facility:

1. If the defendant has prepared the case very well.

2. If there’s no liability and all the facts are on the doctor’s favor.

3. If the plaintiff’s demands are within reason. In cases where the plaintiff demands too much compensation, the doctor can always go to court to fight it out.

Reasons in favor of medical malpractice settlements

1. Trials can be long drawn out and professionally demeaning

2. Trials can often leave the doctor penny-less if he or she loses

3. The consent-to-settle-clause from insurance providers gives more power to doctors

4. Pre-trial settlements can also cut down unnecessary legal time and expenses

If you think you have been the victim of medical malpractice and need help negotiating a medical malpractice settlement, contact a medical malpractice attorney in New York State, Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212-344-1000 to discuss the matter.