Claims for medical malpractice can be extremely stressful for all the parties involved. There are significant costs involved in medical malpractice lawsuits as well as a significant amount stress involved during the time waiting for a resolution. This stress can be even more distressing than the financial costs involved. On average, doctors may end up waiting around eleven percent of his or her career for a resolution of a claim for medical malpractice. If the doctor is a specialist, it can take even more time. For this reason, when considering medical malpractice reform, the speed the cases are resolved should be considered.
How long a doctor will spend on a pending claim involves two factors. The first are the chances a doctor will have a claim for medical malpractice made against them in any given year. The second is the length of time the legal process will take. Typically, a medical malpractice claim will not be filed until about two years after the incident occurred. After that the claim is usually not resolved until more than three and a half years after the incident.
Researchers have recommended that strategies to reach speedier resolutions for medical malpractice claims be explored. Such strategies could include tort reform and alternative dispute resolution tools. Hopefully these tools would help to speed up the process of resolving medical malpractice claims as well as limit the number of claims brought that are meritless.
Currently, even the cases that are dismissed before trial take a significant amount of time to resolve. It has been shown that even cases that have been dismissed will last between eighteen months to two years. If a case reaches settlement, this can still last two to three years. If a case does go before a jury, it can take around four years to adjudicate. This is a significant amount of time for both the patient and the doctor.
In order to limit the number of lengthy lawsuits, a system to screen out cases that fail to meet the legal and medical standards for malpractice. In cases where there has been medical malpractice, there should be a way to obtain swift and fair compensation for the patient. If a case does not have any merit, then it should be dismissed quickly so that there isn’t a waste of resources.
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