Have you or your loved one suffered negligence at the hands of a hospital’s trained medical staff? If so, you probably stand a chance to be compensated by the liable parties’ medical insurer for the harm you suffered because of the alleged negligent act or omission. To pursue the compensation, you would need to initiate a medical malpractice claim. Such cases can be very complex, and it is best to consult the reputable attorney Tommy Hastings.
An experienced lawyer will explain to you that, unlike other personal injury claims, medical malpractice cases rarely get settled without filing a lawsuit. Medical malpractice suits and their settlement procedures are also governed by a stringent set of procedural rules that make an out-of-court settlement process take longer than other personal injury claims. This post will outline the typical process of obtaining a financial settlement for hospital negligence.
Notice Of Intent To Take Legal Action
You will need to visit a medical malpractice lawyer to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. A skilled lawyer is honest about how strong your potential lawsuit is, the best legal strategy to obtain the most favorable settlement for your suffering, and how long the entire process is likely to take.
After hiring a diligent lawyer, they will begin gathering your medical records and other substantial evidence in building your legal, medical malpractice claim. When they have collected everything required to make your claim, they will formally notify the negligent pirates’ or their liability insurer of the intent to take legal action on your behalf.
The notice of intent to take legal action is a legal obligation fulfilled by phone calls, letters, emails, etc. It is necessary because it allows the parties that committed negligent acts or omissions and their liability insurers to prepare their legal defense. Alternatively, negligent parties and their insurers can opt to initiate settlement negotiations or alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Obtaining A Certificate Of Merit Or The Approval Of The Medical Review Board
In most cases, medical malpractice liability insurers require patients and their lawyers to comply with all the legal pre-lawsuit requirements and even file the suit itself before initiating settlement negotiations. Depending on the rules in your particular state, you may be required to either obtain a certificate of merit or the approval of the state medical review board before proceeding with your medical malpractice claim.
The pre-lawsuit requirements are put in place to prevent the civil courts from being clogged with frivolous and vexatious lawsuits that have no merit. Medical malpractice insurers want to ensure that your negligence claims meet the minimum requirements of merit in your state before initiating settlement talks.
A certificate of merit is a sworn statement by a qualified medical expert testifying that your medical malpractice claim is valid. Some states require you to file a certificate of merit or other corresponding affidavits as a prerequisite to filing your medical malpractice lawsuit. A medical review board is a panel of experts that evaluate your case and confirm its validity before you can file your lawsuit.
Initiation Of Settlement Talks Using Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms Where Appropriate
After passing all the procedural safeguards for medical malpractice lawsuits in your state, the liability insurer may or may not require you to file a lawsuit before engaging in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Alternative dispute resolution aims to avoid the cost and unpredictability of litigation by bringing all the parties in the claim together for controlled conflict resolution methods. Medical malpractice claims are typically resolved using either formal arbitration or facilitative mediation.
Facilitative Mediation Settlement Talks
Facilitative mediation is overseen by a neutral facilitator who aims to find a middle ground between you, your healthcare provider, and their medical malpractice liability insurer. The mediator is usually a medical malpractice attorney who can skillfully assess the strengths and weaknesses of each side and propose a settlement that is acceptable to all parties. The outcome of mediation is not legally binding and can be rejected by any of the afflicted parties.
Formal Arbitration Settlement Rulings
Formal arbitration is a binding contractual alternative to the litigation process in court. Once you submit to the arbitration process, you must accept the outcome just like a court of law. Arbitration allows you to present your case to a panel of experienced attorneys like you would in a court.
The arbitration panel will hear all the aspects of the case and make a ruling based on the case’s merits. Even though you can appeal the verdict or settlement awarded by the arbitration panel, courts are very reluctant to overturn arbitration findings.