Settlements in Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases are typically complicated and require sophisticated handling. In cases involving complex issues, such as a medical malpractice case, there is a risk that a jury will misinterpret the facts and evidence and find in favor of the medical provider, or issue an award to the injured party that is insufficient given the actual damages caused by the medical provider. In many cases, therefore, it makes sense for a person pursuing a medical malpractice claim to settle the claim prior to trial. If you were harmed by negligent medical care, it is prudent to meet with legal counsel to discuss what compensation you may be able to recover. The knowledgeable Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers of the Arfaa Law Group can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and develop a strategy to aid you in pursuing the full amount of damages you may be owed.Elements of a Maryland Medical Malpractice Case
Under Maryland law, a party pursuing a medical malpractice claim must prove that the medical provider deviated from the appropriate standard of care, and that the deviation caused the harm alleged. The standard of care is the level of care that a competent professional in the same specialty, with similar skills and training, would have rendered under the same facts. While in some cases it will be clear that the medical provider committed malpractice, in many cases, the injured party must rely on expert testimony to explain to a jury the manner in which the medical provider caused the injured party's harm.Settlements in Medical Malpractice Cases
The costs of trying a medical malpractice case can be substantial, and both defendants and plaintiffs must contend with the inherent risk that they will not obtain a successful outcome. Thus, many medical malpractice cases are settled before trial. The Maryland courts and legislature favor efficient resolution of claims, and there are statutes that facilitate the early disposition of cases. For example, the law provides that in all medical malpractice claims, the court must issue an order directing the parties to engage in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which is a procedure for settling a case without litigation, as early as possible. The order must be issued within thirty days of when the defendant files either an answer to the complaint, or a certificate of a qualified expert, whichever is later. If all parties agree not to participate in ADR or the court finds it would not be productive, however, the parties will be exempt from the ADR requirement.
ADR includes mediation, a settlement conference, and neutral case evaluation or fact-finding. The parties may choose a neutral provider, mediator, or person to conduct a settlement conference, but if they do not, one will be appointed by the court. It is mandatory for all parties to be present at the mediation or settlement conference, and they may face penalties if they fail to appear. Your attorney will generally be present with you at any such conference. Any settlement agreement in a medical malpractice case entered into by the parties during an ADR proceeding is binding. If a case does not settle through the ADR process, it does not preclude settlement, though. Rather, parties may engage in negotiations at any time, from prior to the filing of a lawsuit up until a verdict is issued.Assessing the Value of a Medical Malpractice Case
Prior to reaching a settlement a medical malpractice case, it is essential for the injured party to assess the damages caused by the medical provider’s negligence. Damages may include economic and noneconomic harm. Economic harm includes the cost of any medical treatment needed due to the injured party’s harm, out of pocket costs, and any lost wages suffered due to the injured party’s injury or illness. Noneconomic harm is intangible and includes the pain, suffering, and mental anguish caused by the injured party’s injury or illness. In some cases where the medical provider’s breach of the duty of care was egregious, the injured party may be able to allege that punitive damages are warranted as well.Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Baltimore
Many medical malpractice cases never go to trial but are settled out of court. If you or a loved one sustained damages due to incompetent medical care, you can consult an experienced attorney regarding what claims you may be able to assert. At the Arfaa Law Group, we have the skills and experience needed to navigate the complicated process of helping you seek compensation from the parties responsible for your harm. Our office is located in Baltimore, where we regularly represent parties in medical malpractice cases. You can contact us via our online form or at 410-889-1850 to set up a free and confidential meeting.