How long will a medical malpractice case take until settlement?


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Question:

How long will a medical malpractice case take until settlement? I am involved in a case and I really need to get the money from my doctor immediately to pay all of my medical bills and stuff.

Answer:

There’s no universal procedure or deadline, so it’s not possible to tell you how long your case might take to settle your medical malpractice case. There are a few things to keep in mind though, as you think about a strategy for reaching the best resolution to your case.

First, be as patient and as cautious as you can be. It’s difficult advice to hear (let alone follow) when practical considerations like paying the bills creep into the picture, but it’s important to have the right mindset as a medical malpractice plaintiff, especially if you’ve suffered significant harm as a result of sub-standard medical care.

What you don’t want to do is agree to a settlement and sign a release before the full extent of your losses – the impact that the malpractice had on you economically and otherwise -- is fully understood. Once you settle the case, that’s it. You can’t come back later when your health gets worse or you discover more evidence, and try to get more money out of the defendant.

Second, don’t expect a quick settlement, or any settlement at all. A medical malpractice case isn’t like a fender bender, where the stakes are relatively small, both sides are insured, and everyone just wants to put the matter behind them as quickly as possible.  In a medical malpractice case, things can sometimes drag on for years as the case reaches trial.

What’s more, the defendant (the health care professional you have accused of medical negligence) and the insurer may not be all that motivated to offer you a settlement, if they are convinced that there was no wrongdoing. Because of the high cost of liability insurance in the health care industry, medical malpractice defendants are more likely to dig in for a fight when they are sued.

by: , J.D.

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