Statistics show that most personal injury cases settle, but as a general rule, medical cases (a type of personal injury case) settle less often than other types of cases. This is because defense lawyers know that juries have been heavily influenced by insurance company propaganda that says holding doctors accountable for not following the rules of their profession is somehow unfair to them, or harmful to the public.
There are many objective articles written about the myth of the medical malpractice crisis but they have not yet made inroads into people’s attitudes and beliefs. See, e.g., http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-836 ; and http://articles.latimes.com/2009/oct/01/business/fi-hiltzik1 . As such, there remains a significant chance of getting a jury pool unable to accept an injured patient’s message. For this reason alone, medical cases are more likely to go to trial. (This is also the reason why we spend many hours researching, studying, and applying lessons learned in how to identify jury bias during jury selection.)
Based on the above, we tell clients from day one that they should prepare themselves to go to trial and, just as importantly, that we will litigate this case as if it is going to trial.
This last point cannot be understated. There are many firms (too many) who have no or little experience in actually trying medical cases. They may tell you that it doesn’t matter because so few cases go to trial, but that is a lie. Illinois State Medical Society insures more than eighty percent of the doctors in the State of Illinois, and they know which attorneys can and will try cases, and which won’t. Can you guess which of the two lawyers are more likely get a case settled and for a favorable amount?
One last point. At Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP, in Chicago, Illinois, we really and truly understand how scary the idea of going to trial can be for our clients. That is why we make you this promise: we will walk with you the entire way. What this means is that you will understand what we are doing, and why we are doing it. It means that surprises are kept to a minimum. It means that we will do whatever is necessary to get you through the experience. It means that you are never left alone.