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Whether it was unprompted or the result of a lengthy back-and-forth with the help of a lawyer, getting a settlement offer from a hospital for medical malpractice can feel like closure on a very difficult and stressful time in your life.
However, settlement offers are just that—offers. It’s still up to you to accept the insurance company’s settlement, and rejecting a settlement offer does not mean the hospital is now off the hook and now owes you nothing! It can be a hard decision to make when you’re facing expensive medical bills, weeks or months of lost wages, and a long road to recovery—especially if you need money right now.
If you have a settlement offer on the table and are unsure what to do, we hope this information can help.
Medical malpractice often results in big costs for victims. In fact, the costs are often so great that victims have a hard time calculating them all. It’s common for victims to underestimate how much their medical malpractice injuries or illnesses will cost them—and hospitals and their insurers know this!
To avoid paying big settlements on medical malpractice claims they know that they’re likely to lose in court, hospital insurers often offer fast, easy, and ultimately, lowball settlements instead. These settlements often look substantial on first glance, but they’re actually bargains for the hospitals and bad deals for victims.
If you have a lawyer, the hospital and its insurer are supposed to direct all communication to them—and that includes settlement offers. But sometimes, hospitals and insurers try to take advantage of victims when they’re in pain, working hard to recover, and needing money right away for their medical bills and other expenses.
One of their tactics is to offer victims and their families settlements directly without their lawyers’ knowledge. If you receive a settlement offer directly, tell your lawyer about it ASAP. They can help you review the offer and decide if it’s fair, and they can also ensure that all communication goes to their office instead of your home.
Medical malpractice lawsuits and settlements are one-and-done affairs. If you get a settlement offer and accept it, the case is officially considered “closed” for good at that point. Any money you agree to receive is final, even if you later realize the settlement wasn’t nearly enough money to cover all of your expenses.
This is why it’s important to review all settlement offers with your lawyer. An experienced lawyer can calculate your current and future expenses and help you decide if the offer is enough to fairly compensate you and your loved ones for those expenses. If not, your lawyer can demand more money from the hospital and its insurer, and take them to court if necessary.
In most medical malpractice cases, both sides want to avoid going to trial. That’s why most claims settle out of court after a series of back-and-forth negotiations to reach a settlement that’s fair to both parties. However, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, hospitals and insurers simply refuse to pay fair settlements.
If you never receive a fair settlement offer and you and your lawyer believe you’re owed more money, you don’t have to accept a “last and final offer” or anything less than what you deserve. Instead, you can take your case to trial. Our lawyers are always ready to escalate to the courtroom when our clients need us to aggressively pursue fair compensation.
Whether you have a settlement offer in hand or are trying to get the hospital to pay you for its mistakes, we want to help. The Ohio medical malpractice lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy have worked hard to ensure that innocent victims get the money they’re owed after many types of medical and surgical errors.
We believe that no one should have to pay out of pocket for medical bills and lost wages that arise solely due to others’ negligence, especially when the at-fault parties are highly trained doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals. Contact us anytime for a free consultation of your medical malpractice claim or a review of your settlement offer.
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