Once you settle a medical malpractice case, it is the end of the case. Part of the settlement agreement generally involves a signed release stating that the parties will not pursue a claim based on the same incident. So make sure you get a full handle on the malpractice damages you suffered before you agree to any settlement. Run the settlement offer by an attorney before agreeing. In fact, your lawyer can help you throughout the settlement negotiation process.
What if I develop new symptoms or side effects years later?
Since settling your medical malpractice claim ends the case, it is important that you understand as much about your illness and injuries as possible before settling the case. Entering into a settlement agreement prior to understanding the effects and severity of your condition could put you in financial trouble in the future. You may later develop symptoms that you did not anticipate, or you might discover that the injury or illness is more extensive or severe than you thought.
So if you suffered an injury because of a doctor’s negligence and then accepted a settlement offer quickly thereafter, you may find later that you develop symptoms of which you weren’t aware. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, you won’t be able to reopen your medical malpractice case even if the settlement didn’t account for your current symptoms.
If you are considering entering into a settlement agreement, take into account (to the degree to which you can) what issues are likely to arise in the future. You should also get professional, medical advice regarding what medical issues you can expect to face in the future. What long-term care, if any, will you need? Will your condition require that you have additional surgeries?
It can also be to your benefit to consult with a medical malpractice attorney before accepting any settlement agreement to make sure you are not overlooking any damages that the agreement does not address.
Settling Your Medical Malpractice Case vs. Going to Trial
Discuss with an attorney whether to:
- accept a settlement;
- continue negotiations; or
- proceed to trial with an attorney.
There are benefits as well as risks associated with accepting a settlement for your malpractice claim. In a settlement, both sides know precisely what they are getting without the anxiety and uncertainty that accompanies a trial. Once a case goes to court, the legal costs rise dramatically. Trials are also very time-consuming.
However, the security of knowing what you are getting also comes with a price. You may be gaining something by giving up something. For example, you might make concessions about certain issues in order to arrive at an agreement to which you and the defendant (the doctor who made the medical error) can agree.
The choice of whether to settle for a given sum or proceed to trial is an individual one that deserves thorough consideration and discussion with your attorney. Since settling your medical malpractice claim closes the case, it is critical to take care of your case from the start. To speak to a medical malpractice lawyer about your case, call Ryan, LLP in Cleveland. For a free consultation, call us at 877-864-9495.