You believe his wrongdoing caused you harm.
You suffered horrible injuries as a result of your doctor's actions.
You decide to exercise your legal rights and try and obtain money, as a form of compensation, for all the harms, losses and injuries you suffered.
You sue your doctor.
Actually, you think you have a great case.
You believe that there's no way your doctor can defend himself.
You believe that the doctor, his attorney and his insurance company will simply roll over and give you exactly what your injuries are worth.
You're in for a big surprise.
That is, the best lawyer for YOU.
During your first meeting, your attorney tells you that even with a great case, there are no guarantees you'll get a good result.
There are no guarantees you'll win your case at trial if your case goes to a verdict.
There are no guarantees the defense will want to negotiate.
Hearing this frustrates you to no end.
You cannot understand how your attorney cannot make you any promises or guarantees about your outcome.
Your lawyer explains that this type of case is hotly contested.
The defense typically argues that they did nothing wrong.
Then, they argue that if they did something wrong and you also did something wrong, the injuries that you suffer from now are not as bad as you claim them to be.
You are required to bring in medical experts to confirm that your doctor was careless.
A medical expert must also explain to a jury that your doctor's carelessness was a cause of your injury.
Your experts must also show that your injuries are significant or permanent.
Even when you have a fantastic case no one can predict your outcome.
Even with great medical experts, no one can predict the outcome of your case.
Even if the defense lawyer agrees that you have a good case, no one can predict the outcome of your case.
I've written many articles and created many videos about guarantees that lawyers can and cannot make here in New York.
Remember, your ultimate goal in bringing a lawsuit for medical malpractice is to obtain money.
That is the only form of compensation the law allows you to receive.
We do not live in biblical times where it was common to hear the phrase “an eye for an eye.”
Instead, if someone is found to be legally responsible for causing you harm, then they incur a debt that must be repaid to you.
When your case comes up for trial, there are risks and uncertainties about proceeding to a jury verdict.
This applies to both sides.
The defense also has no idea what the outcome of your case will be.
In some very significant cases involving severe injury, the financial stakes can be extremely high.
In that instance, the defense might want to hedge their bet and put a limit on the maximum amount you can receive in your case.
You might be thinking... "There is no rational reason why an injured patient would willingly agree to a limit on how much you can receive."
For example, if a jury has the potential to come back with a $100 million verdict, the defense may recognize that such a verdict would create many problems for the doctor and would guarantee an appeal with even more uncertainties.
The defense might recognize that your case is worth at least $5 million.
However, why should you ever agree to that amount if there's the possibility of you getting many more millions?
Even if there is the possibility a jury could give you a $100 million verdict, that means the defense will automatically appeal.
That process takes one to two years.
There are at least five different outcomes that can arise from such an appeal.
Here they are in no specific order...
On appeal, your case can be dismissed.
On appeal, your case can be overturned and the appeals court can decide you are only entitled to a fraction of the jury verdict.
On appeal, the court can decide that you're entitled to receive MORE money than your verdict.
That would create another trial for you with all the uncertainties of the original trial.
On the other hand, your case may have certain facts that suggest the doctor could win.
You might not be able to show that you are more likely right than wrong that your doctor violated the basic standards of medical care.
In that instance, you lose.
You get thrown out of court without receiving any money.
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
You don't want that to happen.
What if instead of that possibility, the defense says "Hey listen, we realize there's a risk we could get hit big time here. But that's too risky for us. We also realize that a jury could turn you away without a dime. What if we agree to limit OUR risk and we also agree to limit YOUR risk?"
What is he talking about?
I'm talking about a 'High-Low' agreement.
That's an agreement reached between the attorneys and the litigants.
It's a private agreement that sets a maximum and minimum amount that would be paid out in the event of a jury verdict.
Let me show you how this works...
Let's say your baby was born blue and with a decreased heart rate and breathing rate.
She is diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
The reason she has cerebral palsy, according to your obstetrical experts, is because of a lack of oxygen during her delivery.
She will need lifetime physical therapy.
She will need 24 hour-a-day nursing care.
She will need lifetime assistance.
She'll never talk.
She'll never walk.
She'll never be able to feed herself.
The list goes on.
The defense can't take that risk.
Your case is in a county here in New York that is more likely to agree with you.
The defense needs to limit their risk.
Your attorney tells you there's a problem.
However, he also tells you that this condition has been known to occur from problems that develop in utero, having nothing to do with your doctor's negligence.
If the jury believes the defense's argument, then you lose.
That means you get nothing.
What if instead of all these risks, the defense offers to give you a maximum of $7 million.
That means that if a jury decides to give you $100 million, you would instead receive $7 million as a guaranteed settlement amount.
On the other hand, if the jury decides your doctor did nothing wrong and you get nothing, you would automatically receive $500,000 as compensation.
You might also ask, "What happens if the jury decides that you're entitled to receive $5 million?"
Since that number is within the high-low agreement, you would then get that $5 million.
The high-low agreement protects the defense if the jury decides to give you much more than your case is actually worth.