Should you settle your medical malpractice case or go to trial?

Several weeks ago on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog, we mentioned that medical malpractice lawsuits may take several years to resolve. Even though doctors’ errors may leave patients with permanent or disabling injuries, patients may not get the compensation they need to truly move on with their lives until they spend several years fighting to protect their rights.

In some cases, doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals will continue to fight cases even when it means that a case will go to trial. Doctors may believe that they have enough evidence to prove to a jury that they did everything possible to provide proper care to their patients. However, when a jury sides with victims of medical malpractice, victims may end up receiving the compensation they need to cover all of their damages including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other hardships.

Pursuing a medical malpractice claim is a complex task. But once a victim has what he or she needs to move forward, the victim may run into other challenges. For example, the victim may be surprised to learn that a doctor or hospital is willing to settle a case, but the victim may be disappointed in what the doctor or hospital is offering. The patient may then need to decide whether it is best to settle the case or allow the case to go to trial.

Because medical malpractice claims do take a long time to be resolved, victims of malpractice may be tempted to agree to settlement offers, even when offers will not cover all of their injury-related expenses. In some situations, it is wise to agree to a settlement offer. However, victims need to make sure that they protect themselves after being harmed by a doctor. If a settlement offer is not sufficient to cover their needs, letting a case go to trial may be well worth their time.

For example, a medical malpractice victim was offered $100,000 from a hospital in Pennsylvania for the hospital’s medical mistake that resulted in the patient suffering permanent injuries. The patient decided that this amount would not cover his needs, and the patient allowed his case to go to trial. Last month, a jury awarded the patient $250,000 for his injuries.

When victims are offered a settlement, they need to weigh the pros and cons of accepting a settlement or letting a case go to trial in order to make sure they make decisions that are in their best interests. Fortunately, medical malpractice victims do not need to make these decisions all on their own. Their attorneys will be able to provide guidance when difficult decisions must be made.

Source: The Patriot-News, “Dauphin County jury awards $250K damages in medical malpractice case,” Matt Miller, March 11, 2013

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At Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP, we represent Illinois clients in Chicago and throughout Cook County, including the cities of Cicero, Elgin, Schaumburg, Oak Park, Maywood, Berwyn, Elmhurst, Evanston, Skokie, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Palatine and Hoffman Estates. We also help clients in DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, Will County and Winnebago County. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, CHH Law is the law firm with attorneys that can help.

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