How to Settle Medical Malpractice Suits in Michigan
There is almost nothing worse than having to go to the hospital or to see a doctor when you are sick or need a procedure, and then when the visit is over discovering that you have not received a standard of care that you had expected. In fact, you have been injured, and now you believe that you deserve some compensation for injuries, lost wages, and emotional stress. When this happens in Michigan, the most common thing to do is to seek the advice and guidance of a malpractice attorney at the law firm of Cochran, Kroll, & Associates P.C.
Once you have contacted an attorney, you will start down the path of a malpractice lawsuit that has many phases that take you from your injury to a final settlement. Often along this journey, there comes a couple of opportunities to settle your grievance and your claim without completing the legal process and without having to go to court. There is no magic formula for when to decide to take this approach to a medical injury, but there are some things to consider with your health and peace of mind at stake.
The Litigation Process and When to Settle
The steps to getting a malpractice suit started are straightforward. The first thing you need to do is contact a malpractice attorney and explain your injury to determine if you have a legitimate claim.
Once the decision has been made to move ahead, and even before much investigation is done on your case, the insurance company for the provider may want to settle, and they may offer you a certain amount for your damages. If this happens, and it will, it is best to have a few things in mind when you have this discussion. This interaction with the insurance company does not cancel the progress of the lawsuit, but it may save you time and money.
Things to Consider in a Settlement
When you decide to settle a malpractice suit through the settlement route, you will be working directly with an insurance adjuster. It is also possible to have the guidance of your malpractice attorney, but you will be doing the negotiating. In most cases the compensation is based on the cost of medical expenses to correct the injury, possible lost wages, and the degree of emotional difficulty experienced as a result of the event. It is good to do your calculations for the cost of these elements and have in mind what you think it is worth to you to settle. This will be your benchmark when you begin exchanging offers and information on your case. However, do not share this amount with the insurance adjuster, but use it as your standard.
The First Offer
The first offer is not going to be the best offer as most insurance adjusters will come in at a low rate to see how anxious you are to settle. The adjuster is fishing to see if you have considered the value of your claim and if you are looking for any amount. The adjuster may even deny that you have a claim.
When negotiating the first offer, stand your ground and lean on the facts of the injury, how you have been affected and that you do deserve the compensation you are looking for. At this point, you may not want to demand the total amount that you have contemplated but hint at a lower amount to show that you can be reasonable. Be sure to maintain that the provider was completely at fault and understand that the negotiations will go back and forth until there is some kind of final amount that will probably not change.
Moving Towards Settlement
It is possible that the adjuster will not budge if there is a low offer on the table. In this case, to continue moving the negotiations ahead ask the adjuster to give you some clear reasons why the offer is so low. This response should be in writing so that you can review them. Likewise, once you have studied the reasons your response should also be in writing to document your position in case the settlement approach does not work. In this response emphasize your emotional distress and then wait for a final response. If the response does not fit your expectations, then the best thing to do is to contact your malpractice attorney at our law firm to continue the lawsuit.
At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates P.C. we work closely with our clients through every phase of a malpractice suit. We are at your side to secure the best settlement for you. Contact us at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) for a free consultation. We never charge a fee unless we win your case.