Medical malpractice is more common than you may think. According to Johns Hopkins patient safety experts, more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error – which is the third-highest cause of death in the United States.
Less Medical Malpractice Claims Are Filed Than You May Think
Despite that large number of yearly deaths, medical malpractice claims represent a small number of personal injury litigation claims each year and are becoming less frequent. There are two reasons for this:
- Proving negligence is difficult. Proving that the medical provider who hurt you made a mistake is not easy. Most claims require the use of expert witnesses to prove the person who caused the injury was negligent. This often leads to the second reason medical malpractice cases are becoming less frequent.
- Medical malpractice cases are expensive. It can cost between $75,000-125,000 to investigate a medical malpractice lawsuit in Iowa and take it to trial. Between assembling medical records, hiring expert witnesses to review your claim, and preparing for trial, costs quickly add up.
Because of these high costs, it’s not unusual for Iowa medical malpractice lawyers to accept only cases involving significant permanent injury. If you have been significantly and permanently injured, or a loved one has been killed, then it’s more likely an attorney will take your case.
Negotiating a Medical Malpractice Settlement in Iowa
Once an attorney has investigated your claim and an expert witness has agreed to testify on your behalf, settlement negotiations often occur. While negotiations can continue through the life of your claim – often up until and sometimes even through a trial verdict – holding a mediation may be the first time the two parties discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Mediation is an in-person settlement meeting, where the two sides and a neutral third-party mediator attempt to come to settlement terms. Both the plaintiff (you) and the defendant (the medical provider who hurt you) will present their case to the mediator and lay out their terms for settlement.
Your attorney will assemble your medical records, medical bills, and other paperwork before the mediation to determine what your damages are and what you can be compensated for. Your damages could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of function of the body or mind
- Lost wages, if you couldn’t work due to your injury
- Loss of future earning capacity, if you were unable to return to the job you had before your injury
What Happens When Your Medical Malpractice Cases Goes to Trial
Many medical malpractice cases are resolved during mediation, but sometimes you and the other side cannot reach an agreement. If that is the case, the next step is a jury trial. A trial involves both sides presenting their case to a jury. A jury will then decide whether the person who hurt you was negligent in their actions.
Medical malpractice lawsuits generally take a long time to resolve, especially if you have to go to trial. It is not unusual for claims to proceed for several years before a resolution is reached. If you’re planning on filing a medical malpractice claim in Iowa, you need to be prepared for it to take at least a couple of years.
If you would like a free, no-obligation case evaluation from one of our Iowa medical malpractice attorneys, contact RSH Legal today at 1-319-774-1903.