When can a medial malpractice case settle? This may sound like a simple question, but you will not believe how much confusion can arise out of this subject. Although this article will talk about when can a medical malpractice case settle, the same concepts will hold true for birth injury cases, another form of medical malpractice.
As I always like to remind you, if you have specific questions regarding the settlement of your specific case, be sure to talk with your attorney about your facts. The information that I am providing in this article is general in nature and is not geared towards specific fact scenarios.
WHEN CAN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE SETTLE?
In general, a medical malpractice case can settle at anytime before a jury renders its verdict, if a jury trial is elected. So, this means that there is no hard-fast time that is set in stone for these cases to resolve themselves. A case can settle pretrial in some settings. By pretrial what I mean is before a lawsuit is even filed. Sometimes, depending on the facts and circumstances, the parties will work out an agreement before the filing of a lawsuit. In other instances, this will not be the case.
If the case cannot settle before the lawsuit is filed, it might be settled after suit. How this can happen is during the discovery phase, both sides of the case are generally in touch with each other and the lines of communication might reflect the opportunity to settle.
In addition, in some jurisdictions the court may order each party to mediate the case. During mediation, the case might settle during this process. Sometimes however, the mediation may breakdown with no agreement, but a little later down the line the case settles out.
Please remember, that even though a lot of medical malpractice cases settle, some of them must be decided by a jury or other fact finder. As with may things in the law, and life for that matter, there are no guarantees.
WHO DECIDES IF A CASE SETTLES OR GOES TO TRIAL?
Another important issues which stems from this topic is who makes the final call as to whether a case settles or goes to trial? If you answered the client, you would be right. Some people think that it is the attorney who makes the call as to settlement or trial. The attorney does play an important role in the process by explaining the issues to the client so that they can make the best decisions as to their case.
A good client is going to be engaging with their attorney and listen to the pros and the cons of the case. Doing this will allow the client to get a feel for the offer being made by the defense. Where some clients can get into trouble is when they feel that they no longer need the advice of their attorney and go at the settlement process all wrong. This can be from starting at a too big of a number during negotiations, to glossing over the weaknesses of the case.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP