Whether you should settle your Iowa medical malpractice claim or go to trial is completely up to you. It’s likely your Iowa medical malpractice lawyer can make suggestions on what will be best for your particular case, but it will always be your decision.
Here are some of the pros and cons of settling your Iowa medical malpractice claim:
While it’s likely you hired your medical malpractice lawyer on a contingency fee basis, most defendants hire their attorneys at an hourly rate. The less work on a medical malpractice claim that the defendant’s lawyers can do, the better. Because trial takes a lot of time to prepare for, it may make financial sense for a defendant to settle the case instead of prepare for trial.
Medical malpractice cases often take several years to resolve. It takes a long time to gather evidence, which is called discovery, and file motions. During this time, both sides are reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
If you go to trial, the process can be even longer than if you settle. Then, after a trial, there may be appeals. This can make the already long process of a medical malpractice lawsuit carry on even longer. That can be stressful for everyone involved, especially you.
It can be risky for you because you could lose at trial. If you lose at trial, your attorney can file an appeal, but it’s unlikely you will receive any money. If you settle your case, that guarantees you an amount of compensation that a trial cannot guarantee.
Many jurors also distrust people who bring medical malpractice lawsuits. They believe these types of lawsuits make medical care more expensive and drive doctors out of practice. While neither of these things is true, it can be an uphill battle, even for an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
It can also be risky for the other side because if they lose at trial, they could potentially pay a lot more for a verdict than if they would have settled the case. However, that would be good news for you, as you would be entitled to more compensation than you would have received by settling your claim.
Keep in mind there is a statute of limitations for any Iowa medical malpractice claim. You need to file a lawsuit or settle your case within 2 years of the date of your injury. If you do not do this, you will not be able to recover any compensation for your injuries.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, you can settle your case any time before you go to trial. Filing a lawsuit doesn’t mean you have to go to trial – it only protects the statute of limitations from expiring. If you want to settle, but are still healing from your injuries, you may need more than 2 years to do so. Filing a lawsuit puts a stop on the clock and lets you heal at your own pace. Once you’re healed, if you decide you’d like to settle your claim, you can do so at that point.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to settling your Iowa medical malpractice claim versus going to trial. If you’d like to read more about why most Iowa malpractice victims never get compensation for their injuries, download your free copy of the Law Guide to Iowa Medical Malpractice Claims.
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