Medical Malpractice Cases and Mediation - What to Expect
When patients receive medical treatment, they have a right to expect high quality care. If a patient receives substandard care, it can result in injury or additional medical problems. In this case, the patient may wish to file a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice holds medical professionals accountable for any damages that may have occurred because of their failure to provide appropriate care or treatment.
Although a medical malpractice lawsuit can be settled in court, both sides will try to resolve the case through mediation first. Mediation offers both parties the chance to come together and agree on a reasonable settlement.
The experienced attorneys at Younker Hyde Macfarlane discuss what to expect when a medical malpractice case goes to mediation to help our Salt Lake City, UT clients feel more prepared as we go through this process.
Who Attends Mediation?
Mediation is a process that takes place outside of the courtroom. The goal of mediation is to resolve legal conflicts before litigation begins.
The following parties typically attend the mediation session for medical malpractice cases:
- The plaintiff and their attorney(s)
- The defendant’s attorney(s) and/or attorneys for the insurance company
- A designated mediator
The designated mediator may or may not be an attorney. It is the job of the mediator to stay neutral and refrain from offering any legal advice.
Rather than weighing in on any settlement offers, the mediator oversees the mediation process and passes offers between the two parties.
The Mediation Process
In some cases, the entire mediation process plays out with the two opposing parties in separate rooms, with the mediator going between the rooms to hear what each side has to say.
In other cases, mediation will begin with all parties together in the same room. Traditionally, lawyers from both parties will be given a chance to provide an opening statement, or a brief summation of their argument.
After these opening statements, the plaintiff and defendant will both have an opportunity to share their personal experiences. This is not required, and each mediation is different. Some clients choose to have their lawyers do all the talking while others wish to present their own statement.
After joint discussions are complete, the two parties will meet in separate rooms. This leaves the defendant and plaintiff each free to discuss concerns openly with their attorneys and ask any questions about potential settlements.
The mediator will travel back and forth between the two rooms during this time, but should not share any information or discussion that is deemed confidential.
Ideally, one of the parties will eventually propose a settlement. Any proposal is presented to both parties to see if a settlement can be reached.
If both parties find a settlement satisfactory, an agreement will be drawn up and signed. This becomes a legally binding contract that resolves the case.
Settlements are reached in approximately 85 percent of mediations. In the rare case that a settlement is not reached, litigation proceedings will move forward.
If you have been injured as a result of substandard medical care, you may have a right to financial compensation. To learn more about medical malpractice and your legal rights, contact us at your earliest convenience. Set up a personal consultation with one of the experienced attorneys at Younker Hyde Macfarlane by calling (801) 335-7025.