medical malpractice

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Medical Malpractice Claim?

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Most medical malpractice claims settle out of court. Since doctors have a fiduciary duty, the highest level of responsibility in Illinois law, there’s usually no such thing as a medical “accident.” Instead, there’s usually only medical negligence or a lack of care. However, most of these claims don’t settle quickly. The issues in these cases are usually complex. Additionally, medical insurance company lawyers are usually a very tenacious and stubborn lot.

Regardless of how long it takes to settle a medical malpractice claim, an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer is with you until the end of the line. The settlement process is usually long and the road is usually winding. However, in the end, a strong legal claim with a solid evidentiary foundation always results in maximum compensation for medical malpractice victims.

Informal Resolutions

Usually, settlement negotiations begin once medical treatment is at least substantially complete. At this point, an attorney knows what, if any, future medical procedures may be necessary. If the settlement doesn’t account for future medical expenses, the victim could be financially responsible for them. Understandably, attorneys want to do anything possible to avoid that outcome, even if it means delaying settlement negotiations.

More often than not, insurance company lawyers delay the process. The longer the insurance company keeps a settlement check in its bank account, the more interest it earns. So, these lawyers are experts when it comes to delaying tactics. These tactics include making low-ball offers and overall refusing to negotiate in good faith.

Nevertheless, if the two sides are close enough, these informal negotiations often bear fruit. Insurance company lawyers drag their feet, but they usually don’t want an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer to file legal paperwork. If that happens, the claim becomes a public record. Most doctors, like most of the rest of us, would prefer to keep their mistakes private.

Formal Resolutions

We touched on a failure to negotiate in good faith above. If the claim goes to mediation, and it probably will, the good-faith issue is not a problem. Mostly, for this reason, mediation, or formal dispute resolution, is about 90% successful.

Essentially, mediation is a court-supervised settlement negotiation session that happens relatively late in the process, after all the evidence in the case is available and both sides have finalized their legal arguments. At that point, the settlement value of a claim usually becomes clear.

Basically, negotiating in good faith means two things. First, each side must earnestly want to resolve the claim in mediation. Neither side can simply go through the motions. Second, each side must be willing to make some compromises to reach an agreement. In practical terms, insurance companies must be willing to increase their offers, and victims/plaintiffs must be willing to lower theirs.

Usually, an attorney has a bottom-line figure during mediation and the lawyer will not go below a certain number.

Contact Our Winnebago County Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Medical malpractice victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. by calling 815-315-0574. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.