4 Components of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
After filing your medical malpractice lawsuit, assisting to gather all evidence available to boost your case, and communicating with insurance companies and the defense team through your attorney, you finally receive an offer to settle. While your first instinct may be to accept it because you want the ordeal to be over and on the surface the monetary value looks to be sufficient, not so fast.
There are certain factors that you need to consider before accepting an offer to settle and being mindful of the ones below will assist you in accepting a settlement that entails compensation that will meet your needs.
1. Your case
It is a common tendency for you and your attorney to think you have an open-and-shut case where the decision will be in your favour, but the truth is medical malpractice can depend on a variety of different factors and a win is never a sure thing. While you are positive that the defendant’s actions are considered medical malpractice, the decision will depend on the strength of your case and whether your attorney is successful in proving it.
Before accepting a settlement, review your case with your attorney and decide whether or not rejecting the offer and bringing the case to trial would be beneficial for you. You would hate to reject the offer, go to trial, and end up losing and receiving absolutely nothing in compensation. If you determine that your case is not as strong as initially thought, it may be best to accept the offer and get some compensation that will cover your needs rather than nothing at all.
2. Your needs
Obviously, a major determinant in accepting an offer to settle would be your needs and whether the compensation would meet them. Medical malpractice can lead to the need for ongoing medical support, lost wages, and the inability to pay for bills, mortgages and medical expenses. An attorney is experienced and will be able to help you quantify such things and come up with a total amount that you will need.
You will then be able to match this to the settlement offer and make an informed decision. If the offer is equal to or exceeds your expenses, you can safely accept it. If it is below the amount you and your attorney decide is fair, you can reject it or make a counter-offer but be mindful that the case could go to trial and you could end up receiving no compensation. Also, the case may drag on for years and leave you with little money to pay for immediate expenses.
3. Legal fees
An ideal settlement offer should at least be enough to cover a plaintiff’s needs and also cover legal fees. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit would not be worth it if you win and all of the settlement amount ends up going to your attorney. When considering a settlement offer, make sure that the total amount is enough to cover all of your expenses including legal fees.
Get a total of what the legal fees will be from your attorney before giving your answer. It would be disappointing to accept the settlement offer and discover that the attorney’s fees are more than you expected and you will not be able to keep enough of the settlement to cover your needs and expenses.
4. History of malpractice suits
Medical malpractice lawsuits are commonly decided based on historical cases, meaning that if yours is similar to an existing case, it could have a similar outcome. Reviewing past cases with your attorney will give you an idea of the strength of your case.
If cases similar to yours have often been decided in favour of the defendant, you should consider accepting the settlement offer. On the other hand, if there are cases that share similarities to yours that have won, consider rejecting the offer, counter-offering, or taking the matter to trial.