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You know you have a valid medical malpractice case but you'd really like to settle your case shortly after starting it. What's the chance that will happen?

Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer

The short answer is that it is highly unlikely. Here's why.

When you bring a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries caused by a doctor or a hospital, it is almost always going to be heavily disputed.

The defense will dispute that they are responsible for what happened to you. They will argue that even if they contributed to something that happened to you, they were not the only ones to participate in the wrongdoing. In addition, they will also dispute the extent of your damages and injuries.

What does this mean in terms of trying to resolve your matter quickly after starting your lawsuit? It means the defense will want an opportunity to obtain all of your medical records to evaluate your past medical history, to evaluate the events that occurred and to fully evaluate what medical care and treatment you are receiving now because of what was done wrong.

In addition, the full extent of your injury or disability may not yet be fully known. You might still be under the care of a doctor while you are recuperating. You might need surgery in the future. You might need ongoing medical care in the future. If we do not know the full extent of your injuries or disability, then it becomes very challenging to show to the defense lawyers what the true value of your case is currently.

The types of cases that resolve early are ones where the liability, or wrongdoing, is clear-cut. You often find those cases are highly publicized and it is obvious for all to see that a doctor or hospital did something that was so wrong that it is plainly obvious.

The bigger issue is what is the value of those injuries? Let's assume it is a wrongful death case and there are no ongoing disabilities or medical care. In that instance, it still may be challenging for both sides to reach a value.

For example, if there are a few days of pain and suffering as well as lost earnings and lost future earnings, that may set the parameter for what money might be available to the surviving family.

In some cases that are brought against New York City health and hospitals Corporation, which owns and maintains the municipal hospitals in the greater New York metropolitan area, there is an early settlement unit devoted to resolving cases early if they fit into specific categories. Likewise, if your case is pending in Bronx County, there is a program started by Justice McKeon to try and encourage early settlements for specific cases that have met certain criteria.