The process for settling an Atlanta medical malpractice case depends on the unique circumstances. To better understand the circumstances that could impact your case, it is important to consult a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer who can explain the process.
The Process of Settling a Medical Malpractice Case
A case can be settled at any time. However, with medical malpractice, an early settlement is unusual. The most common time for settlement is after discovery and before trial. The client is ultimately the decision-maker who determines when the case should settle. It is the lawyer’s responsibility to empower the client with the information necessary to make an informed decision.
It is important to note that the outcome of a trial is uncertain. Therefore, reasonable offers should be considered. However, if the defendant is unreasonable, a trial provides a client with the opportunity to obtain a fair and full award.
Settlement can involve informal negotiations, a formal demand, or the utilization of a third-party mediator. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can advise a client as to the reasonableness of the defendant’s position and the risks and benefits of taking a case to trial.
Determining the Value of a Settlement in Atlanta
A settlement is most often calculated as a meeting of the minds between the parties. The most one side is willing to pay and the least the other side is willing to accept. The client decides whether or not to settle a certain claim. However, the available insurance may ultimately place constraints on the amount of the settlement.
Typically the jury is not involved in calculating the settlement. However, the parties could agree to parameters for settlement that are dependent on the verdict returned by the jury.
If the injured party was negligent, the settlement is likely to be reduced. The reason for this is that the negligence of the injured party creates means they may have partially contributed to their injury.
An experienced lawyer can help identify all available insurance and the strengths and weaknesses of a case and project what a likely jury verdict is. These are the most common factors that drive settlement value.
Length of the Process
Typically 30 days from the settlement agreement to receive the settlement. However, while it varies by insurance company, payment quicker than 30 days is often achievable.
Probate approval and medical liens are two common issues that can occur in negotiating a settlement. Probate approval often takes months and requires multiple filings and the approval of a judge. The enforceability of medical liens varies based on the context. However, they must be considered and negotiated before funds can be disbursed.
Economic, Noneconomic, and Punitive Damages
There are three types of damages that may be available in a medical malpractice claim. The most common are economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are damages for which a specific economic number is connected. Economic damages are calculated based on past and future medical expenses and wages. This involves collecting all past bills and then assessing how long into the future the issues will continue and identifying what expenses are likely to be incurred in the future.
Noneconomic damages is compensation for pain and suffering. There is no specific formula to calculate them, though an experienced attorney can help identify the factors that must be considered in arriving at an appropriate number. For example, the extent and duration of the pain and suffering must be considered. The jury is ultimately tasked with determining what to award for noneconomic damages, but it is for the lawyer to suggest what is appropriate.
Punitive damages are damages meant to punish the at-fault party. If the defendant acted recklessly, with conscious indifference to consequences, or intentionally these damages may apply. Punitive damages are not common in medical malpractice cases.
It is important to identify all potentially recoverable damages. This includes punitive damages. An experienced lawyer will be able to help an individual identify and pursue the damages that are available.
Ask an Attorney About Settling an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Case
Settling an Atlanta medical malpractice case can seem daunting. Without proper guidance, it can be difficult to know whether an offer from the insurance company is fair. For the help you need, call today for a free consultation.