When settling a case, the final settlement number may not be your final number. When a person suspected that a family member or themselves have been a victim of medical malpractice, there are certain things that they need to know.
When people feel that the treatment they received or a loved one received was negligent, many thoughts race through their heads. One major thought is, “they did this to me, so they should have to pay.”
THEY DID THIS TO ME SO THEY GOT TO PAY!
On the surface this is an easy statement that should be true, right? The injured party should be made whole for the costs associated by the negligent act of a doctor or hospital. However, it is not that easy. To get to the point in the conversation where money is discussed a whole investigation and in many, many cases, suit must be filed.
This article does not deal with what is required to bring forth a suit. Marcus and I have covered the minimum requirements in many articles and videos over the years. The purpose of this article picks up from the point where a case has been filed and is in the process of litigation.
Suppose that you are at the point where you are trying to decide whether to enter into negotiations and attempt to settle your case, or if you should move to trial. Of course, each case and each client is different. Sometimes the defense does not make an offer or will not attempt to negotiate a settlement. In those instances, there’s not much that can be done other than a trial.
However, if you have an active negotiation, whether it be a formal mediation or a more informal negotiation, there are several pieces of information to take into consideration before saying, “I accept.”
First, when you say accept, that ends the litigation aspects of the case. What is left is for the attorneys to hash out any specifics when it comes to form of payment, disbursement of funds or setting up a certain type of account for the funds.
FINAL Settlement Number May Not Be Your Final Number
When you hear the numbers regarding settlement, remember that main number is what the defense is willing to pay to end the entire case. Anything that you are responsible for paying will be subtracted from that amount. For example: if you are responsible for litigation fees, costs of your experts, medical bills, legal fees, etc, you should take these all into consideration when deciding whether to settle.
Many attorneys and firms who handle medical malpractice cases work on what is called a contingency fee. Contingency fee in its most basic form, means the firm or attorney does not receive a legal fee if you do not recover in your case. Their payment is contingent (or dependent) on your payment. Some firms still charge costs or litigation fees regardless of whether you recover. Others may only recover any costs, fees that they bad when you recover. Medical bills may need to be repaid, too. However, that is case specific.
Here is a general example of how your final settlement number may not be your final number:
The defense offers you a settlement of $200,000. Your medical bills total $50,000. Your experts have submitted bills totaling $8,000. Your attorneys have spent $7,000 to file suit and litigate your claim. In addition, you and your attorney have negotiated a 35% legal fee. Your net would be $65,000. Now can you see how your final settlement number may not be your final number.
Now you can see how a final settlement number may not be your final number. Before deciding whether to settle your case, be certain that you have an understanding as to what costs and fees and been extended on your behalf and understand what bills, if any, need to be repaid. The choice as to whether to settle your case or go to trial is yours. However, you should have all the information before making your decision.
J. Renee Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP