Do Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Commonly Go To Trial?
Part 15 of a series of FAQs at http://www.cliffordlaw.com/chicago-medical-malpractice-lawyers/FAQ-videos. This video answers the question “Do medical malpractice lawsuits commonly go to trial?” It features Susan Capra, a registered nurse and Chicago medical malpractice attorney who is a partner with Clifford Law Offices (see a transcript of Susan’s answer below). If you think you may have a medical malpractice case, call us at 1 (866) 896-6896. Consulting with one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys can provide a sound basis on whether to pursue an action in court.
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Do medical malpractice lawsuits commonly go to trial, and if so, how long usually is the trial itself?
SAC: Whether a case goes to trial or not is variable. My experience has been that most of these cases ultimately do settle because we do a good review before we file them and hopefully they are meritorious when we file them. When we know they are or we wouldn’t be filing them. However, if they do settle, they usually do not settle early. They often times settle right as you are walking in the courtroom door for trial. Every case, John has to be prepared as if it is going to trial. You can never assume that a case will settle.
One of the reasons that cases don’t settle; in medical malpractice it’s a little bit different than in other areas of the law. In a lot of medical malpractice cases, the doctor has the right to consent to settle the case or not. Now that’s different than in an auto case. Now if you have an auto accident, your insurance company can settle their case without your knowledge or consent. Doctors usually have the right to consent and some doctors feel very strongly that they did nothing wrong.
Insurance companies also get involved. So an insurance company may decide to defend a case even if the doctor wants the case to be settled. Often times, these cases are complex with multiple defendants and there may be fighting as to whose responsible and who’s gonna pay what. And that will drive a case to trial.
The length of a trial is also variable. It depends of the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses, cases can go from one week to many months. Most cases in my experience are 2 to 4 weeks. Just for a general medical malpractice case.
I could just imagine the defense attorney sitting there saying, “Okay, who’s the plaintiff’s attorney? Susan Capra from Clifford Law Offices in Chicago,” and there goes the defense attorney, “Okay, let’s settle this thing, that’s Susan Capra, we can’t go up against her, she does a thorough investigation, there is no way.”