Medical malpractice victims will often face serious financial issues that are directly related to their damages. Between their medical expenses and lost income, these troubled families will often face a downward financial spiral. Unfortunately, given the backlog US courts face, it could take between six months to a year, and possibly even longer, to settle a medical malpractice claim, or for the claim to go to trial. This could be too long for families who are struggling to pay their bills.
How long it takes to complete a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on the case’s complexity and strength, as well as the court of jurisdiction. While most medical malpractice lawsuits will settle out of court, both sides are still required to file motions and go through discovery.
Your medical malpractice attorney will need to find a balance between getting injured patients and/or family members their money quickly and ensuring that the amount they receive is fair. A case that settles faster will oftentimes receive a lesser amount of money. The family could lose several hundred thousand dollar or more. On the other hand, cases that win at trial do tend to have larger payouts. However, these cases may take several years before any is paid to the plaintiff.
When determining whether to settle the case, the plaintiff’s attorney needs to consider the strength of the case and whether the settlement offer is reasonable. In most cases, medical malpractice lawsuits will settle out of court because neither side wants to undergo an expensive, time-consuming trial. Trial is usually considered a last option.
Even though jury awards are typically higher than settlements, most cases still settle out of court. Litigation is very expensive, time consuming, and not guaranteed. In some cases an attorney will pass on a settlement offer only to find a detail of the case that could jeopardize its success. In that case both the attorney and their client lose. However, if the plaintiff has a very strong case, and the defense does not offer an impressive settlement, then it may be necessary to go to trial. There have been times that the defense has waited until the day of court, just before opening remarks, to offer a large settlement.
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