What is the Medical Malpractice Settlement Process?

What is the Medical Malpractice Settlement Process?

Medical malpractice is the name given to any incident where a medical provider has acted negligently, causing their patient to suffer injuries or the aggravation of a previous condition. When this was caused by negligence, the injuries suffered were most likely preventable, and this means victims may be entitled to raise a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault provider.

Medical malpractice claims are always best handled by a competent medical malpractice attorney who deals with medical malpractice lawsuit settlements on a regular basis. They will take on the case, investigating on your behalf and building your case.

Peter Angelos Law – Medical Malpractice Attorneys You Can Trust

Here at Peter Angelos Law, we have dedicated much of our professional time serving the state of Maryland to the victims of medical malpractice, helping them pursue compensation and the recovery of their damages following their incidents.

We work on a contingency fee basis, taking cases on with no up-front fees to pay, and offer a free initial consultation and case evaluation to all victims. If you are unsure of your next steps, get in touch with one of our team today to arrange a meeting with a law firm that has a reputation for fierce advocacy and winning cases in the medical malpractice space.

Call us at 410-649-2000.

The Process Most Medical Malpractice Settlements Follow

While every single medical malpractice case that we handle here at Peter Angelos Law is unique, the process that they go through is usually similar. There are five potential steps your case will go through.

Step 1 – The Investigation

Once you have agreed to representation, the very first step will be to carry out a full-blown investigation into what happened to you, leaving no stone unturned. We will speak to all of the medical providers that owed you a duty of care at the time of the incident. We will also obtain all of the important medical records from around the time of your incident.

If it becomes necessary to do so, our team will do in-depth research into the medical practices and literature that relates to the problem you were seeking medical attention for in the first place.

The main purpose of the investigation is to understand two important questions:

  1. Was someone negligent in providing medical care to you, the victim?
  2. What injuries and damages resulted directly from that negligent care?

At this point, if the answer to the first question is no, or we feel there will not be enough solid evidence to successfully win your case, we will sit down and tell you so. We will tell you what our findings were and why we do not believe your case is fully worth pursuing.

If, following the investigation, we believe your case is worth pursuing, we will begin to make arrangements for a medical expert to review the evidence we have. This expert will be one from the field of medicine that the medical provider you are accusing is from. To be an expert, they must be either a treating physician in that field or a teaching physician in that field.

Here at Peter Angelos Law, our panel of experts are some of the most knowledgeable physicians in their field, and will be strong witnesses that can testify for our clients. Many of them have extensive experience in medical malpractice cases, and this means their opinions are crucial in winning our cases.

Step 2 – Filing Suit

Once the evidence we have uncovered has been examined by the relevant experts, we can begin the preparation for filing a lawsuit on your behalf. To do this, we will serve the papers to the relevant authorities, the defendant, and their attorney.

Step 3 – Pretrial Discovery

Next, will be the pretrial discovery, which is divided into three separate parts:

  • Written Discovery
  • Depositions of the Parties and Lay Witnesses
  • Depositions of Expert Witnesses

Written Discovery

The first stage of litigation is the written discovery stage. During this stage, we will send to the other party a number of written questions which are known as “Interrogatories”. With these questions, we will also send some written requests for them to produce copies of documents that are relevant to the case.

The other party must answer the “Interrogatories” in writing, and for them to be valid, the other party must swear the answers within are true under penalty of perjury.

At this stage, both sides will turn over the documents that they have that relate to the case.

Depositions of Witnesses

The depositions of witnesses are usually carried out outside of the courtroom, usually in an attorney’s office. These depositions are under oath, similar to that of a courtroom, and allow lawyers to find out what the witnesses are going to say if the case moves to trial.

Expert Depositions

Once the first two stages have been carried out, we will begin the deposition of the expert witnesses. During this stage, we will inform the other party and their attorney of the names of the experts we plan to utilize, giving them a chance to depose the witnesses also.

Step 4 – Negotiations & Settlement

The majority of medical malpractice cases settle outside of the courtroom. This is usually the case if the other party’s insurance company believes they are going to lose the case if it goes to court.

This means that the next stage is usually a discussion and negotiation of settlement offers. If discussions are not productive and a settlement cannot be arranged at this stage, the parties involved may decide to utilize mediation, where a neutral mediator, often a retired judge, will preside over the meetings to allow stagnant discussions to move forward once more.

If both parties come to an agreement on a settlement, the case will not need to move into the trial stage.

Step 5 – Trial Preparation & Trial

If your attorney cannot negotiate a settlement that is fair and reasonable, arrangements need to be made for the case to move to trial. This means that experts are made ready to testify at trial, and exhibits, like visual aids, statements, and questions for witnesses, will be prepared.

Your attorney will then have the task of putting the most compelling argument, backed by the evidence, and expert witness exhibits, to the court and jury, who will decide if what you are seeking is reasonable.

Calculation of Damages

The calculation of the damages that you have suffered is an extremely important aspect when it comes to putting a figure to medical malpractice settlement amounts. By calculating your damages, your attorney will have a solid figure they can use to base their negotiations.

The more experience your attorney has at winning reasonable settlements, the better they will be equipped to do this.

Your damages come in two forms, your economic damages, and your non-economic damages. When fighting for a settlement from a medical malpractice insurance company, they will expect these damages to be calculated in an accurate manner, or they will dispute them.

Economic Damages

Your economic damages are the damages you have suffered or will suffer that are going to require you to suffer financially. They will have a clear financial sum attached to them, and should be easy to calculate and sum up. There will be evidence to substantiate these claims, as there will be receipts, invoices, and bills your attorney can use to do so.

Your economic damages include:

Medical Expenses

One of the highest costs you have likely suffered is the further medical expenses you have had to pay to treat the injuries you have suffered in the malpractice. When you have been the victim of malpractice, you can recover all your past and future medical expenses.

This means that all of the treatment you have had already, and all the treatment you may require, no matter how long-term the treatment may be, will be recoverable.

In the most serious of cases, you may need life-long treatment, and this should be represented in your compensation to ensure you have the money to pay for this treatment.

Your attorney may look to medical experts to help them gauge what this treatment may look like in terms of financial cost so that they can include it in their damage calculations.

We recommend keeping a daily diary of your treatment, pain levels, and mood. This will help your attorney with their timeline and pain and suffering calculations.

Lost Income/Loss of Earning Capacity

Most victims of medical negligence will need to take some time off work to receive treatment or to recover from procedures. This usually results in the victim suffering from lost income. Medical malpractice claims allow for the recovery of all lost income and loss of earning capacity.

This means that you can recover all of the wages you have lost as a result of the malpractice, and if your injuries mean you will need to take time off in the future or that you will never be able to return to work, your attorney will calculate what this future loss of earning capacity is worth and include it in their calculations.

Non-Economic Damages

In terms of how medical malpractice settlements work, your attorney will need to calculate your non-economic damages after your economic damages. These damages are subjective, meaning your attorney will decide what they are worth. This makes the task a difficult one, as your attorney will need to decide what is fair and reasonable in order for the other party to agree and not dispute their claims.

Your main non-economic damages are your pain and suffering and your loss of enjoyment of life. Usually, depending on how serious these two damages are, your attorney will apply a multiplier between 1-5 to your total economic damages to decide what they are worth.

Pain and Suffering

Your pain and suffering damages compensate you for the trauma you have been through, such as physical pain and emotional distress. If you have kept a diary of your pain and mood levels, your attorney will use this to help them here. If you have been in a high level of pain for a long time, your pain and suffering damages will be greater than if you recovered quickly and had relatively low pain levels.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

If your injuries have resulted in you having to stop doing things you love, like playing a sport or instrument, or you can no longer pick up your child or drive your motorbike, this is what is known as loss of enjoyment of life. You should be compensated for this, and if you have suffered any loss of enjoyment, the multiplier your attorney may use to judge your economic damages may be higher.

Contact Peter Angelos Law Today

The medical malpractice settlement process is complex, and every single case will be unique in many ways. The best way to understand the question “What is the medical malpractice settlement process?” is to speak to one of our attorneys. They will evaluate your case and ensure that you are kept informed and educated throughout the case if you proceed with the representation.

Call us today at 410-705-2405.