If you have a possible medical malpractice case, the good news is that most cases will settle before they reach a trial. However, the settlement process can be difficult in itself, and many cases could take years before they reach an agreement. If the defendant approaches you to talk about a settlement, know that it may be just the beginning of a long process.
The first thing that goes into a medical malpractice settlement is negotiation and plenty of it. Medical malpractice cases usually involve higher dollar figures than other personal injury cases. Depending on the extent of your damages, an insurance company and hospital could be on the hook for millions of dollars. Expect them to act to try to minimize what they need to pay out in damages. They will start with a low negotiation position, and it may take years and multiple rounds of offers and counteroffers to reach an agreement.
Starting in Court or Through an Insurance Claim
You have the option to file a claim with the doctor's insurance company and start negotiating from there. Alternatively, you could go straight to court with a lawsuit. Some insurance companies may try to wait you out and force you into court.
Before you get to the point where you are close to a settlement, your case may need to proceed in court. Many medical malpractice lawsuits will settle during or after the discovery phase. First, you will need to get the evidence from the defendant that shows that they are responsible and their level of fault. When the defendant realizes that you have evidence that could persuade a jury, they will get much more serious about settling the case.
Deciding Whether a Settlement Is Right for You
The settlement should fairly pay you for what you have suffered and should include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Wrongful death
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
Your lawyer will tell you when the settlement fairly compensates you. Before that, you will confer with your attorney repeatedly and at length while you go through the settlement process. South Carolina does have a damage cap on the non-economic part of the award, which may affect your decision whether to settle or go to trial.
Once you agree to a settlement, you will need to choose the way that you want your money. You can choose either:
- A lump-sum payment – A lump sum payment is quick, uncomplicated, and allows you to select how you will manage the money that you need for future care and expenses.
- A structured settlement – A structured settlement will pay money now and in the future, as well as ensure that you have the money that you need.
Experienced Charleston Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been injured by a doctor's negligence, you may be legally entitled to recover compensation. Call the Charleston medical malpractice lawyers at The Hopkins Law Firm today at (843) 314-4202 or contact us online. Medical malpractice cases are complex, so it is important to start today.
How do I know if the settlement offer is high enough?
Your medical malpractice lawyer will know how much your claim is worth and can advise on any settlement offer.
How long will my case take to settle?
Medical malpractice cases are complicated. They usually do not go to trial, but they only settle after you have gathered significant evidence.
Should I begin with filing an insurance claim?
Your lawyer will know the best strategy to use to give you the best chance of recovering for your injuries.