When starting a New York medical malpractice case many folks invariably ask, “How long will it take?” I’d love to give a good answer about how fast the courts move, or how quickly insurance companies offer a quick settlements, but that’s not the way it works.
It will take years. Even if a surgical team leaves a clamp or sponge inside you, the defendants are unlikely to even discuss a settlement until the time of jury selection. The reasons are not terribly complex, and are related in part to the fact that the defendants’ insurance companies will hire the defense lawyers and plot the strategy:
- If the insurance companies make your life miserable — even on slam dunk cases of retained surgical equipment as shown in the link above — then attorneys won’t take smaller suits because it isn’t worth the immense amount of time and money needed, thereby decreasing the overall number of malpractice cases;
- Defense lawyers bill by the hour and have no incentive to reach a quick disposition; and
- If you get a judgment in your favor in New York, then interest on the money starts to run from the time of the judgment, not from the time of the incident. Thus, the insurance companies continue to hold and use the money for investments in the interim.
So there it is, short and not-so-sweet. Nothing is likely to happen fast.
And because of this, any medical malpractice case that is taken must be prosecuted and prepared with the intent to take a verdict. It would be foolish to hope for a settlement offer that may never come.
Links to this post:
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posted by Kevin @ November 18, 2009 2:00 PM
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