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Medical malpractice is devastating on a physical and emotional level. It’s also a major financial burden. Victims often face huge medical bills for treatments or procedures that only made their health worse, and then they face even more expenses to fix or repair the damage. Because of the costs associated with medical malpractice, victims often need big settlements as quickly as possible.
Setting a timeline on medical malpractice claims can be difficult. Every case is unique, and some may have more readily available evidence of negligence or recklessness than others. In addition, each case will result in a different level of compensation, which can also affect how long it takes to go from calling a lawyer to cashing your check.
Here are a few things to keep in mind that could influence your medical malpractice claim timeline:
Certain types of medical malpractice are obvious. Examples include pharmacies giving patients the wrong prescriptions, surgeons operating on the wrong body parts, and doctors treating patients while those doctors are noticeably intoxicated.
When there’s plenty of evidence of malpractice, cases often finalize faster. That’s because doctors, surgeons, hospitals, and healthcare clinics are more likely to admit to wrongdoing, which means their insurance providers will also be more likely to agree to settlements.
Many medical malpractice claims involve only a single at-fault party. For example, when a surgeon makes a negligent mistake, he or she alone will usually be held liable for the damages. But sometimes, surgeons and doctors make mistakes that were enabled by negligent facilities or compounded by negligent pharmacists and specialists.
When multiple parties are liable for medical malpractice, claims can take longer to finalize. That’s because evidence must be collected, analyzed, and presented against all at-fault parties. In addition, each party may have a medical malpractice insurance provider, which can complicate the process and result in a longer back-and-forth process. Having an experienced Ohio medical malpractice lawyer on your side can help in situations like this.
Some medical malpractice cases aren’t obvious without a lot of research, analysis, and evidence. And in many cases, that evidence isn’t easy to obtain. Important documents, including medical records, charts, and patient notes can take time to acquire, especially if malpractice spans multiple clinics or even wings of a single hospital.
Many medical malpractice claims require expert witnesses, including other doctors and medical professionals. Because these witnesses often have busy schedules of their own, victims’ claims may be slightly delayed until those witnesses have an opportunity to review the facts of what happened and provide their analysis and opinions.
Most medical malpractice claims settle out of court. When hospitals, healthcare clinics, and malpractice insurers know that victims have slam-dunk cases against them, they will usually settle to avoid expensive legal fees and bad publicity. But sometimes, all parties involved dig their heels in and refuse to admit wrongdoing or to pay settlements—especially when there’s a large sum of money at stake.
Certain catastrophic medical malpractice cases, including operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical tools inside a victim’s body, and spinal cord damage resulting in paralysis can result in huge payouts to victims and their families. These claims are often bitterly contested and require experienced and savvy legal representation, as insurance companies and adjusters will try every trick in the book to avoid paying settlements.
If you have health insurance, you can use it to pay some of your bills while you wait for your medical malpractice claim to settle. It’s important to note that your health insurance provider may place a medical lien on your case if you decide to file a medical malpractice claim against your healthcare provider. This lien will reimburse your insurer with some of the money you win via a settlement or a jury decision for the money they are spending on your treatment.
You may also be able to negotiate your bills with the hospital or healthcare clinic, which can include reducing the amount of money you owe and setting up a payment plan over the course of several months or years. Hiring an attorney is vital to delay and negotiate hospital bills, and doing so can buy you the time you need while you wait for your medical malpractice claim to finalize.
Doctors, surgeons, and hospitals are well-protected against medical malpractice claims. It takes a lot of evidence, dedication, and willingness to fight to even be heard, let alone win. But at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our team of Cleveland medical malpractice lawyers has years of successful claims experience under our belts for victims just like you.
Don’t risk losing the settlement you’re owed for the injuries or illness you suffered because of a negligent healthcare provider or facility. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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