Why Do Medical Malpractice Cases Take So Long to Settle?

How long does it take for a med mal case to settle?

Most clients are shocked at how long medical malpractice cases take to settle. There is a common misconception that hospitals or insurance companies will fear exposure and pay a hefty settlement early on in the case.

Unfortunately, medical malpractice is one of the most litigious subcategories of personal injury. Many medical liability cases do not resolve until they are on the courthouse steps.

Our medical malpractice and nursing home abuse attorneys explain why med mal cases take so long to settle.

If you have a potential medical malpractice case and want to speak with our lawyers for free, call us now at 1-844-253-8919

Reason #1: The Defense Wants You to Die, Get Tired or Go Away

Insurance companies delay paying medical malpractice settlementsLitigation fatigue is a real thing. When the lawyer on the other side pries into your personal life for years, it can get old quickly.

Insurance companies are well aware of this. Lawyers for the hospital, nursing home or doctor will try to stretch out litigation, in the hopes that you lose interest.

Additionally, when dealing with elderly plaintiffs, medical malpractice insurers understand that cases diminish greatly when the plaintiff passes away. Getting multiple continuances from the judge may be an attempt to see if the litigation outlives you. As revolting as this defense tactic is, it happens more than you think.

Reason #2: Medical Malpractice Cases Inevitably Require Extensive Medical Expert Opinions

In most car accident cases, the plaintiff treats with their treating physicians. These experts are organically involved in the plaintiff’s day to day care. Expert opinions are generally disclosed within the plaintiff’s treating records. Usually, there are not a litany of experts to depose before trial.

Conversely, courts have referred to medical malpractice cases as ‘a battle of the experts.’ Quite literally, each side gets a team of expert witnesses. All are deposed. Many experts are out of state and have busy schedules. Inevitably, expert depositions get cancelled and rescheduled.

This gives the defense in a medical malpractice lawsuit great reason to delay settling the case or going to trial.

Reason #3: Your Settlement Expectations are Too High

It is not our intention to be the bearer of bad news. However, many times, cases do not settle because the client has pie in the sky expectations.

It is incredibly difficult to put a settlement value on a medical malpractice case. There is no way to gauge what a jury will do with a specific set of facts. Yet medical malpractice attorneys and insurance adjusters value losses like yours everyday. It is best to listen to your attorney when he or she places a reasonable settlement range on your medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you find you are in disagreement with your attorney’s advice and the adjuster’s offer, it might be that your evaluation is off base.

Reason #4: The Courthouse is Underfunded

This is not a shameless funding plug. It is an honest observation. If you do not believe us, go to calendar call with your attorney.

Cases get trial priority based on the filing date. The earlier cases go first.

Inescapably, there will be cases ahead of yours. Slip and fall cases, foreclosure cases, cases involving a burst pipe that flooded an apartment kitchen. Your judge is required to afford all of these cases a trial, not unlike yours. Because most courthouses are operating on a shoestring budget, you must get in line behind every other case filed earlier than yours that has not settled.

Reason #5: Tort Reform, Caps on Damages and the General Likelihood of Losing

As Plaintiff medical malpractice lawyers, we are not afraid to admit it: we lose. In fact, statistically, we lose more than we win. Physicians win more than 70% of the time in medical malpractice litigation. Hospitals share in a similar success rate versus injured plaintiffs who sue them for malpractice.

This emboldens medical malpractice insurers to hold off on settling cases.

Additionally, depending on where you live, your state may have enacted sweeping tort reform. The healthcare lobby throws millions of dollars at state politicians each election cycle. Some state legislatures have even gone so far as to manufacture a ‘doctor crisis’ in order to cap damages and prevent the filing of medical malpractice claims. As a result, laws have become increasingly pro-defendant and anti-plaintiff.

All these factor into when, why and what an insurance company decides to pay you in a medical malpractice settlement.

Free Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Evaluation

More questions? Do not hesitate to reach out to our skilled and experienced medical malpractice attorneys. We always provide free case consultations at 1-844-253-8919

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