How Settlement Negotiations Work in Medical Malpractice Cases
Posted in Medical Malpractice on October 5, 2020
Most medical malpractice cases follow the same basic process: investigation, filing, discovery, and trial. However, many negotiations can take place during multiple stages — and since these claims can be risky to win in trial, most cases settle out of court. If you are filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, understanding the negotiation process is an important step in seeking compensation for your damages.
Proving Negligence in Medical Malpractice Cases
A negotiation can occur before you file your lawsuit and after you send a complaint letter to the at-fault medical professional, or after you file the claim and before your scheduled trial. Once you decide to file a medical malpractice claim, your attorney will need to gather evidence to establish the at-fault party’s negligence.
Specifically, your attorney will need to prove three important facts.
- The at-fault professional owed you a duty of care.
- The at-fault professional breached the duty of care through a negligent act or omission.
- The negligence directly caused your injuries and losses.
Your attorney may gather medical records and other documents from you to prove the malpractice occurred and that you received treatment from the at-fault party in a professional capacity. Your lawyer will speak to medical professionals who can validate the nature of your injuries, as well as provide insight into the at-fault party’s actions.
This evidence is important for a number of reasons. Testimony that establishes that the doctor acted in a way that another sensible professional would not have done under the same circumstances provides valuable leverage to your claim. If the at-fault party believes that a trial would not result in a favorable outcome, he or she may want to settle out of the courtroom.
Calculating the Estimated Settlement Value
Prior to negotiation, your attorney will calculate your estimated settlement value. Calculating your settlement before negotiation is an important step; this process helps your lawyer understand how much you need to recover from your injuries.
You can collect both economic and non-economic damages in your claim, including the following.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish and psychological trauma
Your lawyer may consult with economic experts and medical professionals to determine your long-term care costs, which can also provide a clearer picture of your monetary needs. If the at-fault professional offers an insufficient settlement, your attorney can use this evidence as justification for a higher payment.
When Should You Proceed to Trial?
While many medical malpractice cases do settle out of the courtroom, there are situations where you should not accept a settlement offer. If the defendant refuses to negotiate or offers a lower amount of compensation than you actually need to recover from your injuries, you should proceed to trial.
When you suffer an injury due to the negligence of a medical professional, you deserve justice for your losses. If you do not receive the funds you need to pay for your ongoing care, you can face additional costs and further hardships later on. Hiring a medical malpractice attorney can help you understand how to navigate the litigation process and work towards optimal compensation.
Your attorney can help evaluate the settlement offers you receive and negotiate for a higher settlement on your behalf, as well as represent your case in the courtroom. If you have not hired a lawyer to represent your claim, speak to a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.