Does It Take a Long Time to Resolve Medical Malpractice Suits?
- March 29, 2017
It’s true that some lawsuits, including suits involving claims of malpractice, can take a long time to resolve. Equally true is the fact that some malpractice suits are wrapped up in relatively little time. A lot of factors determine whether a suit is settled quickly or drags on for months or years. A personal injury attorney can help the client have some idea of what to expect, based on the specifics of the situation. Here are some of the issues that will affect the amount of time needed to bring the matter to a final resolution.
The Willingness to Negotiate
With many medical malpractice suits, the injured party is not dealing with the medical professional whose actions or negligence led to the issue. Instead, the insurance company who issued the policy for malpractice coverage will be attempting to come to some sort of arrangement with the injured party. The best approach is to hire a personal injury attorney who includes medical malpractice in his or her scope of practice.
Having an attorney present for the negotiations protects the interests of the client and also ensures that all discussions surrounding a settlement remain on topic. With the legal counsel for both parties involved, there is the potential for an agreement to be reached quickly. When that happens, the suit can be dismissed as soon as the responsible party complies with the terms of the settlement.
Keep in mind that the party responsible for the injury does have a vested interest in avoiding a battle in court. Mounting a defense in a malpractice case can be expensive. There is no guarantee the benefits included in the malpractice insurance will cover all of those expenses. That’s true even if the insurance does include enough coverage to take care of the amount awarded in the judge’s decree.
Couple the potential expense with the adverse effect on the responsible party’s professional reputation and it becomes easy to see why settling out of court could be an option. Depending on how clear-cut the evidence happens to be, the settlement may be reached with little to no objection.
The Complexity of the Medical Issues
A lot of work goes into understanding exactly what took place in terms of the actions of the responsible party and the outcome for the patient. In some instances, the details are simple and the results so easy to gauge that the amount of documentation related to the case is minimal. More complex cases may require going through a great deal of data, determining how to present it as part of the case, and identifying witnesses or experts who can speak directly to the accuracy of that data.
While this may seem to be a great deal of effort, taking the time to digest all the information and be prepared to present it in a court of law is ultimately in the best interests of the client. Doing so reduces the odds that something vital to the case is not left out of the proceedings. The lawyer can also anticipate the strategy of the opposing counsel and be prepared to rebut any objections that may arise.
The Types of Damages Requested as Part of the Suit
What kind of damages are being claims as part of the malpractice case? This is often a sticking point that slows down the overall proceedings. While some of the damage claims may be readily accepted, there may be intense discussions about some of the other claims. Assuming the client is not willing to discard one of those claims, the process of presenting evidence that all damage claims are valid could take some time.
The Amount of Damages Claimed
Even if there is no objection to the kinds of damages claimed in the suit, the responsible party may be hesitant to agree to the amounts requested. That can mean more negotiation or attempting to convince the court that the amounts do meet the standards and statutes that apply in the jurisdiction.
Never attempt to manage a medical malpractice suit without the legal counsel. Contact a personal injury attorney and go over the particulars of the situation. With an attorney on board, the odds of bringing the matter to a conclusion sooner rather than later are much higher.