If your doctor or a hospital provides less than adequate care when you’re sick (or worse, injures you when they’re treating you), the first concern is getting better. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. If you have lasting complications, the hospital may offer financial compensation, or you may take things to court. When do you take the check and let it go? When do you fight?
Do You Have Economic Hardship?
Assuming you’ve received an offer from your doctor’s or hospital’s representation, you’re obviously considering taking the money. It’s important to think about why, though. Are you getting weighed down by unreasonable medical bills? Unable to work? Do you need new, expensive equipment, like a wheelchair or adjustable bed? If you’re in a position where you’re financially suffering as well, then a settlement may be the right choice for you.
Settlements get a poor reputation for being a defendant’s way of sweeping things they’ve done under the rug, but sometimes money is the answer. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the money side of things, so just make sure you’re not giving your mind and body a heavier burden just to get rid of the financial one.
Do Non-Economic Damages Matter?
Offers that come without a lawsuit, like a doctor’s insurance company contacting a patient directly, typically occur when a medical professional or company already knows that something they’ve done is going to lead to a loss of money for their patients. You’ll know these as economic damages, which patients can also sue for in court. That means there’s another side to the coin: non-economic damages. Unfortunately, these are harder to understand. And they’re harder to measure, so an insurance company representing a hospital or doctor won’t want to offer this kind of restitution.
When are non-economic damages on the table? If the medical malpractice results in such severe harm that the suffering goes beyond physical and financial, most of those initial settlements won’t cut it.
Your Pain Should Be Your Price
Say a surgeon performs an appendectomy on an otherwise healthy patient while sleep-deprived, and forgets to close incisions they’ve made inside the body. Bacteria get into the bloodstream and the patient develops a deadly condition known as sepsis. There are two ways this ends: the patient can survive sepsis, with countless potential complications; or, the patient dies from organ failure. No matter what, the patient has suffered immensely because of a surgeon’s negligence, and so have their loved ones. Regardless of whether the patient survives, that suffering will continue for years beyond the surgery. It’s a devastating, life-altering experience, and it’s hard to put a price on that.
So, knowing whether to accept a settlement in a case of medical malpractice depends on this crucial question: Does that settlement pay the price of your pain? Sometimes it’s hard to figure out the answer on your own. Reach out to a lawyer in your area, similar to a medical malpractice lawyer Chicago, IL victims trust at Dave Albo, before you assume your only choice is to settle.