Knowing When to Settle a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit


According to a study from Harvard University, 61% of medical malpractice cases that are filed end up being settled rather than making their way to court.

That’s quite a contrast to the 80-90% rate of settlement for other types of cases that never reach trial. Among the reasons for the contrast is the requirement of many malpractice insurance companies that actually require insured doctors they represent to stand trial.

What Does Settling Mean?

Let’s begin with the basics just to make sure we’re all on the same page. The word “settlement” is a term used to describe a formal ending to a legal dispute without the involvement of a jury’s verdict or judge’s ruling.

In most cases, the settlement comes in the form of a certain amount of money offered by the defendant in exchange for the plaintiff’s agreement to release the defendant from any liability.

When Are Settlements Offered?

There’s no etched-in-stone rule on when settlement proposals can be offered. They can happen late in the process of the lawsuit itself or even before a lawsuit is filed.

The Negotiating Process

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the option to settle is the negotiation process. The reasons vary, but often times in medical malpractice cases, what the defendant feels is appropriate compensation is vastly different to what the plaintiff (you) thinks is appropriate.

The Doctor’s Approval

While other cases involving issues like slips and falls or auto accidents can generally be settled by the defendant’s insurance company, the physician involved is often required to approve settlements in medical malpractice cases.

This can cause things to get dicey as sometimes a physician may opt for taking their chances in court rather than settle, which would most likely result in higher insurance premiums or even being dropped altogether by his insurance provider.

Your Lawyer Knows the Score and Will Advise You

While the ultimate decision on whether or not to settle is up to you – the client – your lawyer knows the tendencies of juries and how the legal system typically plays out. Because of that, their advice on whether or not to settle should be valued.

Remember, your lawyer will go through any every aspect of the settlement details to make sure your best interests are served.

Let The Fitzgerald Law Firm Fight For You

If you’ve experienced medical malpractice or feel that you have, get in touch with the skilled team at The Fitzgerald Law Firm. Collectively, we’ve secured well over $1 billion on behalf of our clients.

Call us for a free consultation at 800-323-9900.