If you or a loved one are injured in a medical malpractice case, you have a right to a trial. This right to a trial can be before a jury of your peers, which will be 6 people from the public plus several alternates. Six jurors will deliberate, and five is required to come to a verdict. That means one juror can find against you in a civil case and you can still win.
Your right to a trial can also be just before a judge, which is known as a bench trial. The parties will still call witnesses and present evidence to the judge as if it was a jury trial. The judge may ask questions himself or herself, and the jury may pepper the attorneys with questions of even the witnesses. The judge will then issue a written decision after the transcript is produced, which usually takes 5 or 6 months longer.
This right to a trial is very important in our judicial system. For a criminal trial, it is an integral to how common law process works and how justice is administrated. Initially the laws were what the people of the society said. In BC times, people would go before tribal elders and present their case for a ruling of what the panel of elders thought. It is a process as old as time.
But sometimes in a medical malpractice case, it is better to actually forego the whole jury process. This means that it can be better for a party to actually settle. That is, not go to a panel of your peers, but to just settle.
Isn’t this against how disputes are determined since the beginning of time?
Because sometimes a case might be too complicated for a jury to understand. And while you can ask for a bench trial, who would understand it, the defendant can still ask for a jury trial and confuse the jury on purpose. This means that your very good case can be completely confused and twisted to make it so you do not get the compensation you deserve.
If you settle, you know what you are agreeing to and what you will get. This is very important because there is no risk in agreeing to an amount. Sometimes the amount is very good and it makes more sense to take it, rather then to pay for trial and all of the experts, exhibits, and other expenses. That will come off the top of your verdict. You may stand to make more money by settling without going to a verdict.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.