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Should You Accept a Settlement for Your Medical Malpractice Case

Feb 14, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

A person has suffered significant injury because of carelessness of a doctor, and has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit to claim damages. Now, close to the trial date, the defense makes a settlement offer. The lawyer informs his client about the offer, tells him the amount, and recommends that the accept it. The client is very disappointed by the offer, and in fact asks his lawyer, whose side he was representing.

Common Expectations of Many Clients

Many people who have filed medical malpractice cases think their cases are worth millions, and they are likely to get a huge sum of money. When they are offered much less as settlement, they think they can get much more through a jury verdict. Actually, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will know when the settlement amount is reasonable and will advise his client to accept it. A stellar lawyer will also discuss with his client the pros and cons of accepting the offer in comparison to rejecting it and going ahead with the trial.

Spotting a Marvelous Offer

In this case, the defense had made a significant offer, and it was not their first offer. This was a magnificent or impressive offer after extended settlement negotiations. The defense had come back this time, and given their best number possible. Even though you may have an overwhelming case, there is always the risk that the jury might throw the case out, if you are not able to prove that you are more likely right than wrong.

In such a situation, you will not get anything. Even if the jury rules in your favor, there is the possibility that the jury might award compensation that is much less than the settlement offer. The third possibility is that the jury could award a compensation that is much higher than the settlement offer.

Accepting the Advice of an Experienced Lawyer

A dedicated and experienced lawyer will be able to lay out the different possibilities to his client and form an estimation of the possibilities of the various outcomes. Secondly, if the client wants to reject the settlement offer, and go ahead with the trial, the lawyer should make the client aware of the extra costs, which is going to reduce what he will eventually receive after all deductions, even if the jury passes a verdict in his favor.

Hence, when a settlement offer is made, the lawyer has the duty to inform his client about the offer, and advice the client whether he should accept the offer. The first offer is usually rejected in most cases, as the defense will be trying to see if they can settle the case for a lesser amount. After the rejection of the first offer, if the negotiations go further, there are chances of attaining a better settlement amount. However, only an experienced lawyer will be able to decipher with a fair amount of accuracy if his client will benefit by accepting or rejecting the offer.