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Medical Malpractice Settlements

Research reveals that of the estimated 80,000 victims of medical malpractice each year, approximately one in eight individuals file medical malpractice lawsuits. Medical malpractice is generally defined as the negligent or wrongful conduct of a medical professional which is directly responsible for injury to a victim. Many doctors and medical professionals have insurance that covers them in the event of a liability claim. Approximately 96% of the time, the victim's lawyer and the doctor's insurance claims adjuster will negotiate medical malpractice settlements out of court.

There are two types of awards that can be received in a medical malpractice settlement. Actual damage awards refer to the compensation awarded for things such as out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, and lost income or profits related to the impairment an injury causes. You may also receive compensation for pain and suffering (known as non-economic rewards). The second type of award is given for punitive damages. Punitive actions are awarded less frequently, but are considered when the medical malpractice lawsuit involves extreme or willful negligence on behalf of the medical practitioner.

Since the costs of going to court can be very expensive, many large companies and medical facilities prefer to settle out of court. Lower amounts are often awarded through medical malpractice settlements than through jury verdicts. The median range is approximately $125,000 for an out of court settlement versus the median $235,000 for jury verdicts. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be complicated, and it is important to have all the resources available to you in order to develop a strong case. A medical malpractice attorney is your best advocate and expert in successfully pursuing a strong case, which will yield a just outcome from your medical malpractice settlement or verdict. Some states have implemented caps, or limits, on the amount of money that can be awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Currently, many of these laws are being challenged and negotiated.

Many medical malpractice settlements take place outside of the courtroom because of a relatively high rate of awards being granted to the injured party. States that currently offer arbitration panels for medical malpractice settlements are able to resolve the disputes between medical professionals and patients with decreased litigation time and a greater chance of compensatory awards being granted to the plaintiff.

Establishing if you are eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is best achieved by contacting a medical malpractice attorney who can properly assess your injuries, discuss filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, and counsel to whether a medical malpractice settlement is your best option. There are specific rules and regulations applicable to medical malpractice lawsuits, including statutes of limitation, or how much time is allowed between the date of injury and the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit. These laws can vary by state and by the nature of your injury.

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