How Long Do Medical Malpractice Cases Last?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on August 12, 2020
When you choose to pursue damages for medical malpractice, you may wonder how long it takes before your claim reaches a settlement. Medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages can quickly add up, but you may need to wait before you can see the maximum possible settlement. While timelines may vary from case to case, it is important to remember that the medical malpractice lawsuit process may take a year or longer.
Is There an Average Medical Malpractice Timeline?
Because lawsuit timelines can vary widely, it is not possible for your attorney to predict exactly how long your claim will take to reach settlement. Some medical malpractice claims settle within one year, while others may continue for two or three years.
While the exact timeline will depend on the facts of your case, medical malpractice victims typically undergo a number of pretrial negotiations prior to entering the courtroom. Your attorney will also need time to investigate your claim and exchange evidence with the at-fault party’s lawyer during the discovery process.
Factors That May Influence Your Case’s Timeline
While there is no set formula for medical malpractice claims, certain factors may lengthen or shorten your claim’s timeline.
- Severe injuries: Before your attorney can file your claim for damages, you will need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Your attorney cannot calculate your damages and ongoing treatment needs until you achieve MMI, and if your injuries are especially severe, it may take longer for you to reach this point.
- Willingness to negotiate: A medical professional may not want to enter the courtroom, and would be willing to negotiate instead of going to trial. In these situations, you may receive an adequate settlement offer early on in your case’s timeline.
- Availability of evidence: Proving a medical malpractice claim can be difficult due to the specialized, scientific nature of these cases. Your attorney will need time to gather important documentation, speak to medical experts, and calculate your total damages. The more complex your injuries or the harder it is to obtain evidence, the longer your case may take.
If these factors influence your claim, it is important to be patient and follow your attorney’s advice. You may want to file your claim before you reach MMI, or accept a lower settlement offer than what you need to recover. Taking these actions can greatly impact your future recovery, and may leave you with additional expenses later on.
When Should You Settle a Medical Malpractice Claim?
You may have heard that most civil lawsuits, including medical malpractice claims, settle outside of the courtroom during pretrial negotiations. While this is true, settling during these negotiations may not be the best option for your claim.
When you file a malpractice claim, you are likely pursuing a large settlement to pay for multiple expenses, including ongoing medical care. It is vital that you do not accept a lower amount than what you need to recover. Your attorney will calculate the value of your settlement prior to negotiation, and if the at-fault party offers an insufficient amount, it is not in your best interest to accept the offer.
For best results, contact a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer to guide you through the claims process. Your attorney will ensure you do not receive less compensation than you deserve, as well as help you understand how to prepare for each stage of your lawsuit.