How do Medical Malpractice Settlement Negotiations Work in Maryland?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Medical Malpractice Published on January 31, 2023 and updated on February 1, 2023.

medical malpractice notes with gavelMost medical malpractice claims are not resolved before a lawsuit is filed. However, even though a lawsuit gets filed, most of the time the case is resolved through a settlement.

This means settlement negotiations often determine how much compensation victims are going to receive. Below, we discuss settlement negotiations in Maryland medical malpractice cases in more detail.

If you were injured by medical malpractice, contact The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl today to learn more about how we may be able to help you seek compensation. Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers have secured millions on behalf of malpractice victims and there are no upfront fees for our services. We have the resources and legal knowledge to build a comprehensive case as we seek maximum compensation.

No upfront fees. Contact us for assistance: 410-401-9979.

Proving Medical Malpractice Occurred

There is not going to be a settlement unless the victim can establish that he or she has a legitimate case, which has a good chance of succeeding in court. It may be surprising to some that a lot of questionable medical malpractice cases end up getting filed.

While there are many elements to a medical malpractice case, two of the most important are that the medical professional was negligent and your injuries were a direct result of that negligence. You must provide evidence that shows the doctor who treated you did not meet the standard of care for the situation. Another way of thinking about this is that another doctor in a similar situation would have acted differently than the doctor who treated you.

Connecting your injuries to the doctor’s actions can be particularly challenging. Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint the moment an injury occurred. Even if a doctor committed malpractice, it can be hard to show how malpractice led to you being injured.

You need an expert witness to provide testimony about your claims to show they have merit. At Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices, we have access to qualified experts to help validate medical malpractice claims.

Claim Value and The Negotiating Process

Your lawyer must also determine the value of your medical malpractice claim. This is much more complicated than simply adding up your medical bills and demanding payment from the at-fault party.

For example, your injuries may require ongoing treatment, and there is no way to know the precise value of these damages before they happen. There is no getting around the fact that your lawyer is going to need to make an educated projection about the value of ongoing medical bills and other ongoing damages. That is why you need an experienced lawyer who knows how to account for all the factors that can affect the value of a claim for compensation.

Your lawyer may need to bring in medical and economic experts to determine how much compensation you may need to ensure a high quality of life and the ability to get the treatment doctors say you need.

When do Most Cases Reach a Settlement?

It is highly unlikely that your case will be settled before a lawsuit is filed. The negligent party may concede that malpractice occurred, but it may not agree with your lawyer’s assessment of the value of your case. Most of the time, the other party is going to want to review the case in detail to determine how much he or she is willing to settle for.

After a lawsuit gets filed, there is a pretrial settlement process. The purpose of this process is to get both parties to settle so a trial will not be necessary.

Often, medical malpractice cases are settled in private mediation. If a settlement is not reached in mediation, it may be reached soon after the mediation session. As a trial nears, insurance companies often decide it is better to settle the case than to leave it in the hands of a jury, as a jury could award much more compensation than the insurance company would have to pay out at trial.

How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Each case is unique, and some take longer than others. It could take weeks to reach a settlement. It might take months.

That said, lawsuits are going to take longer than settlements. It can take time just to get a court date on the docket and that date may be months from now.

Approval of the Settlement

Settlements are negotiated between the lawyers for the victim and the lawyers for the defendant, often a medical malpractice insurance company.

However, before a settlement agreement can be finalized, the defendant must approve it. The trouble is the defendant is often a doctor and doctors tend to not want to admit they did something wrong. Settling is likely to cause their medical malpractice insurance premiums to increase.

The doctor’s lawyers can often convince him or her to settle by explaining how much the victim might receive if the case goes to trial and the jury rules in favor of the victim.

How Compensation Gets Paid Out

There are two types of medical malpractice settlement payments: lump sum payments and structured settlement payments.

What is a Lump Sum Payment?

A lump sum is the entire value of the settlement. If your settlement is for a lump sum you will receive the full amount of the settlement in one payment, after any liens and attorney fees and costs are taken care of.

What is a Structured Settlement Payment?

Sometimes victims receive periodic payments over a certain amount of time until they receive the full amount of the settlement. This is known as a structured settlement. Typically, a trust is created, and money is paid from the trust to the plaintiff. Structured settlements are often done when the plaintiff is a minor.

While the choice of settlement payment is up to the plaintiff, most choose a lump sum. If a structured payment makes more sense, your lawyer can discuss it with you when you are making your decision.

Injured by Medical Malpractice? Call For Legal Help

One of the most important factors in the success of a medical malpractice case is the attorney representing you. Experienced lawyers with a history of results may be more likely to obtain full compensation for damages.

While many cases settle, you also need a lawyer who is prepared to go to trial and has done so before. Insurance companies know the lawyers who do not go to trial, and insurers may be less likely to offer full compensation when victims are represented by these attorneys.

Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices has been fighting for medical malpractice victims for decades, at the negotiating table and in the courtroom. We have obtained millions to help victims move forward.

There are no upfront fees or legal obligations. Call us to learn more.

Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call 410-401-9979.