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Medical Malpractice Settlement Process – Why You Need an Experienced Attorney

March 31, 2021

Medical malpractice cases can be extremely complex and take years to conclude. That is why you must hire a medical malpractice attorney with extensive experience in Michigan. In addition, in a medical malpractice case, there are some specific actions that you must take in the correct order to make certain that you receive adequate and just compensation.

A settlement in a medical malpractice case can happen at any point, but often does not occur until the very end of a lawsuit.

Let’s take a look at the list of the basic things that should occur in a medical malpractice action to give you a better understanding of what to expect.

Finding the Right Michigan Medical Malpractice Attorney. In a medical malpractice case, it’s crucial to be represented by an attorney in Michigan who is experienced with injuries and damages caused by healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities. In addition to the many deadlines and filing requirements in a personal injury case, a medical malpractice case also has numerous requirements for expert witnesses and discovery that are best handled by an attorney who understands the medical and legal fields.

An experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney will have the resources to thoroughly research your case, consult with physicians and others in the healthcare industry, and prepare the strongest case for trial. Again, because a settlement can happen at any point, a Michigan medical malpractice attorney must proceed as if he is going to try your case in court.

Notice of Intent. Michigan medical malpractice law requires that a patient’s attorney give notice of a lawsuit to the responsible physician, surgeon, nurse, clinic, or hospital. It’s a letter that states the issue and the reason the patient is bringing an action. The letter is designed to give the Defendant the opportunity to prepare their defense and get ready for trial.

Working with Insurance Companies. Here’s where you definitely see the benefit of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. The insurance companies for the hospital and the surgeon or doctor—as well as the patient’s own insurer—want to pay as little as possible for medical malpractice claims. That saves them money. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit and often offer settlements that are much less than what a medical malpractice victim deserves and to which he or she is entitled. That is why it is important to consult with an experience medical malpractice attorney before discussing a potential resolution with a hospital or healthcare provider’s insurer.

Filing the Medical Malpractice Complaint and Affidavit of Merit. Filing the complaint in a Michigan circuit court starts the calendar on when a case will get to trial. It will typically take several years for a medical malpractice case to proceed to trial in Michigan, especially with Covid-19 postponing all civil jury trials since March 2020.

Also, another important requirement in the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit in Michigan is that the patient must submit an affidavit of merit. This document is filed with the lawsuit complaint and states the case has been reviewed and endorsed by a health care professional qualified under state law.

The Trial. Again, an experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney will be ready to go to trial because there may not be a settlement offer or the Defendant refuses to negotiate.

While the doctor or other healthcare professional who is sued often has the final approval on a proposed settlement, insurance companies may be more apt to roll the dice and take their chances with a jury.

However, research shows that more than 90% of medical malpractice cases settle out of court because a trial is expensive and time-consuming.

How is a Medical Malpractice Settlement Negotiated?

In a settlement negotiation in any type of civil lawsuit, the amount of a medical malpractice settlement is negotiated between the parties, and often includes the defendant’s malpractice/professional liability insurer. The patient’s damages are often the beginning place for the settlement talks.

One component of a settlement a medical malpractice attorney will be seeking for the patient is economic damages. These are the quantifiable, provable expenditures or losses that the patient has incurred because of the medical error. It includes the cost of additional treatment required due to the health care professional’s medical negligence, lost wages, and loss of household services. These can be fairly simple to ascertain.

The other component a medical malpractice attorney will be seeking for the patient is non-economic damages.  Non-economic damages consist of things such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment. An experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney will argue for appropriate compensation for the value of which is usually much higher than a healthcare provider’s or that of his or her insurance company, and unfortunately, much higher than the caps on non-economic damages in personal injury claims. Currently, the limitation on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims is $471,800 (the lower cap) and in some instances $842,500 (the upper limit exception for specific catastrophic types of injuries).

After a settlement is approved by the parties, the court may need to review and approve the agreement. This is true in wrongful death cases and cases involving a minor. The payment and collection of settlement can also be a point of negotiation. However, the settlement check is usually delivered to the plaintiff’s attorney, who deposits it into an escrow account. Once expenses and legal fees are deducting according to the representation agreement, the injured plaintiff is paid.

Speak with an Experienced Michigan Medical Malpractice Attorney

For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We can discuss your situation if you believe you’ve been injured as the result of a misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, or an error in lab results.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, Sterling Heights, Dearborn, Saginaw, Waterford, Pontiac, Traverse City, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek, and rural towns such as Lowell, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, Big Rapids, Cadillac, Ionia, Ludington, Hudsonville, Gaylord, and Greenville. We will meet you after-hours, at home, or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today!