Deciding to Settle or Litigate a Medical Malpractice Claims
Suffering an injury at the hands of a medical professional usually shatters the trust the patient puts in the medical industry as a whole. And for good reason. Medical professionals are given this trust by society as a result of the years of dedication and education that they put into their profession. However, while errors do occur, and American society is oftentimes willing to forgive errors, when that error is determined to be preventable, things are different. Consequently, the trust is eroded, and many injured individuals want to not only receive compensation for the costs associated with recovering from their injuries, but also there is a bit of desire for retribution. In either case, retaining the services of an experienced Miami medical malpractice attorney is essential to obtain compensation for not only injuries suffered, but, potentially, for pain and suffering. Affecting this destruction of trust even more is illustrated in this article, which highlights medical professionals who are continuing operating a medical practice even after having multiple accusations of medical malpractice asserted against them.
Medical Malpractice Time Limits
As with all lawsuits, the Florida Legislature imposes a limit on how long a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit against a defendant. Medical malpractice matters are no exception. Florida law holds that the vast majority of medical malpractice matters must be brought within two years from the time the error occurred, or within two years from the time the error was discovered, or should have been discovered.
Strategies regarding the Time Limit
While, obviously, knowledge of this time limit – also known as the statute of limitations – is important when determining whether a lawsuit can even be filed, it is also important to know when the time limit is approaching, as this can affect strategy. Specifically, since, in Florida, medical malpractice matter must undergo an extensive pre-suit analysis prior to a lawsuit even being filed (a topic not covered in this post), the mere approach of the time limit can mean a matter is much more difficult to litigate. Accordingly, it may be more fruitful to engage in settlement negotiations as opposed to the pre-suit analysis prior to filing a lawsuit.
Aside from the statute of limitations, there are other factors that can affect whether it is more beneficial to settle a medical malpractice matter rather than to instigate a legal action. Cost is always an issue, which is a significant concern when seeking to take a case to trial. While many attorneys may operate on a contingency basis (meaning they do not get paid unless their client wins the case), it is important to understand that three of every four medical malpractice actions are found in favor of the medical professional. Thus, while, in this case, the plaintiff’s attorney does not get paid, neither does the plaintiff, meaning all time and energy in alleging malpractice has gone for naught.
Another factor to consider is the strength of the case. Not every case is as cut-and-dry as it may appear on television; in fact, most lawsuits are filed specifically because of various shades of gray between the parties. Accordingly, if an attorney determines that the chances of success are uncertain, then settlement may be the preferable option.
In the end, an experienced attorney can help his/her client understand the distinctions between strategies enough to make an educated choice in how to proceed against a medical professional.
Seek Legal Advice
If you suffered an injury as the result of preventable error on the part of a medical professional, and you would like to know what options you may have, especially whether to litigate or settle the claim, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. We understand the nuances of litigation versus settlement, and after analyzing your claim, we will develop a strategy to get you optimum results. Contact us today for an initial consultation.