When a hospital or physician accepts liability for medical malpractice, their insurance company may offer you a settlement to try and make things right. However, the settlement you’re offered isn’t guaranteed to be enough to cover your damages.
Seeking advice from a medical malpractice lawyer in Baltimore if you’ve been offered a settlement is a wise move.
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Why You Should Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Baltimore Before Accepting a Settlement
You’re entitled to two forms of damages, known as economic and non-economic damages. An insurance company offering you a settlement will most likely base the offer on your economic damages, meaning your medical bills and any income you’ve missed out on while away from work.
If they take your non-economic damages into account, then they’ll usually offer you a lower sum than you may be entitled to, depending on your situation. Consult an attorney and share all the details of your case with them. This will help the attorney figure out whether or not the sum you’ve been offered is too low.
How Will an Attorney Know if the Sum Is Too Low?
Economic damages are usually easy to calculate. If the settlement you’ve been offered doesn’t cover them, then your attorney will know almost right away that you can’t accept that offer.
In addition, there are several methods that can help your attorney calculate how much you can fairly claim in non-economic damages. Which method they use depends on the circumstances of your case.
Your attorney will evaluate your case and calculate how much you’re really entitled to in non-economic damages. They’ll also add your economic damages to this sum. If what you’re entitled to is significantly higher than what you’ve been offered, then your attorney will advise against taking the offered settlement.
What Happens If I Decline the Settlement?
You don’t have to decline the insurance company’s offer on your own. Letting your attorney handle the negotiations is a wiser move. Your attorney will decline the offer and use any available evidence to show why you should win a higher sum. There may be lots of back-and-forth negotiations that could go on for weeks or months.
If the insurance company most likely isn’t going to offer you an acceptable settlement, then you may have to go to trial.
How Much Can I Win in a Medical Negligence Case?
How much you can win after medical negligence depends on your circumstances. You’ll almost always win a sum large enough to cover your medical expenses and reimburse you for any income you’ve lost while taking time off work.
The non-economic damages will vary based on how your life has changed after the malpractice. Someone with a fast-healing injury will receive a lower sum than someone who’s been left with a lifelong disability. The type of medical malpractice case can also impact how much you’ll win in both economic and non-economic damages.
Check out this page to learn more about the different types of medical malpractice cases you can be compensated for.
Is There a Cap on Damages?
As of 2023, the maximum sum you can win to cover your non-economic damages is $875,000. This sum can vary from year to year. For example, in 2021, the cap was $845,000, so always ask your attorney what the current cap is. There’s no cap on economic damages in a medical malpractice case.
What Kind of Non-economic Damages Could I Win?
Some non-economic damages you can be compensated for include:
• Physical pain and suffering • Emotional distress
• Loss of ability to take part in activities
• Decreased quality of life
What If I’m Filing on Behalf of a Deceased Love One?
If medical malpractice caused your loved one’s death, then the circumstances and damages involved are different. Your attorney can explain this to you during your consultation. You shouldn’t even entertain the idea of a settlement before consulting an attorney.
With wrongful death cases, the cap on non-economic damages is higher, at $1,093,750 when the claim is made by two or more loved ones. There are also different non-economic damages you can be compensated for, such as loss of consortium.
Will I Have To Go to Court When Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Most people involved in medical malpractice cases never have to go to court. However, if the insurance company refuses to pay out a sum that adequately covers your damages, then you’ll most likely need to go to trial.
Never accept a settlement before consulting an attorney when you’re dealing with medical malpractice or any other area of the law. It’s best to start working with an attorney before the insurance company even has a chance to offer you a settlement.
Getting legal aid on your side will give you a much higher chance of winning a sum that covers all of your economic and non-economic damages.