What Percentage of Malpractice Suits are Successful?

medical malpractice lawyer and client celebrating successful malpractice suit
Tags case withdrawal, legal strategy, medical errors, medical malpractice, medical malpractice lawsuit, medical malpractice lawyer, medical malpractice settlement, medical malpractice trial, medical negligence

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Starting a medical malpractice lawsuit is certainly a daunting endeavor. You may be wondering to yourself, is it even worth it? How many medical malpractice lawsuits actually end up successful?

The percentage of successful medical malpractice lawsuits varies depending on several factors, including the jurisdiction, the specific circumstances of the case, and your definition of “success” (e.g., whether it means a settlement or a verdict in your favor).

According to a study by the American Medical Association, about 68% of medical malpractice lawsuits are dismissed or withdrawn, 8% are resolved with a trial verdict in favor of the plaintiff, and 24% are resolved with a settlement.

So what does this mean, exactly?

medical malpractice complaint

Case Dismissal

When a medical malpractice lawsuit is dismissed, it means that the case has been closed and will not proceed to trial or settlement. Dismissal can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Lack of jurisdiction: The court may lack the authority to hear the case if it is filed in the wrong state or if the statute of limitations has expired.
  • Failure to state a claim: The plaintiff’s complaint may be insufficient to establish a legal basis for the lawsuit.
  • Lack of evidence: The plaintiff may not have enough evidence to support their claim, or the evidence may be inadmissible in court.
  • Settlement: The parties may agree to settle the case before trial, resulting in dismissal of the lawsuit.
  • Other reasons: The case may be dismissed for other reasons, such as procedural errors, failure to comply with court orders, or the death of the plaintiff.

In these examples, the plaintiff would be you; the plaintiff is the person bringing forward a medical malpractice case, while the defendant is the doctor, hospital, or institution the plaintiff sues.

Dismissal of a medical malpractice lawsuit does not necessarily mean that the plaintiff’s claims are meritless or that the defendant did not commit malpractice. It simply means that the case cannot proceed to trial or settlement at that time, although in some cases the plaintiff may be able to refile the lawsuit if they can address the reason for the dismissal.

It is extremely important that you retain as much documentation and information about your cases as possible to prevent a dismissal. The more evidence you can provide, the less likely it is for your case to be dismissed.

A significant number of medical malpractice cases are dismissed for this very reason. On top of this, there are many law firms out there that charge hourly. Firms that have a billable hours business model are not incentivized to win a case, since they charge you an hourly rate to work on your case, regardless of outcome. This also factors into the high number of dismissed cases.

Merson Law PLLC does not charge an hourly rate. We only get paid if you win your case, so we’ll be sure to help you collect all of the information and documents you need to avoid a dismissal. Get in touch with us today if you’re looking to pursue a case.

Case Withdrawal

When a medical malpractice lawsuit is withdrawn, it means that the plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed their case and has chosen not to pursue it any further.

There are many reasons why this can happen, be it for personal reasons, or for strategic reasons.

Some plaintiffs withdraw their lawsuit to refile later or to pursue a different strategy. Additionally, a lawsuit is technically withdrawn when the plaintiff agrees to a settlement with the defendant.

If you withdraw your case without a settlement agreement, it is important to know that you can refile your lawsuit at another time, within the statute of limitations. This is referred to as “withdrawal without prejudice.” Most cases that are withdrawn without a settlement agreement are withdrawn without prejudice.

plaintiff and defendant in medical malpractice lawsuit reaching a settlement outside of court

Medical Malpractice Settlement

A medical malpractice settlement is an agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant to resolve the lawsuit without going to trial. A settlement is typically reached through negotiations between the plaintiff’s legal team and the defendant’s insurance company or legal team.

The terms of a medical malpractice settlement can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, but generally, a settlement agreement will include the following components:

  • Compensation: The defendant will agree to pay the plaintiff a certain amount of money to compensate them for their injuries, medical expenses, lost income, and other damages resulting from the alleged malpractice.
  • Release of liability: The plaintiff will agree to release the defendant from any further legal liability for the malpractice, meaning that they cannot file another lawsuit for the same injuries or damages.
  • Confidentiality: The parties may agree to keep the terms of the settlement confidential, meaning that they cannot discuss the details of the settlement with anyone else.
  • Other terms: The settlement agreement may include other terms or conditions, such as an agreement not to disparage the other party or an agreement to cooperate in future legal proceedings.

Once a settlement agreement is reached, it must be approved by the court before it becomes final. The settlement payment is typically made to the plaintiff’s attorney, who deducts any legal fees and costs before disbursing the remainder to the plaintiff. The plaintiff then signs a release of liability, and the lawsuit is closed without going to trial.

judge banging gavel during medical malpractice trial

Medical Malpractice Trial

When a medical malpractice case goes to trial, it means that the plaintiff and defendant were unable to reach a settlement agreement, and the case is brought before a judge and/or jury to decide the outcome.

This is probably more along the lines of what you picture when thinking about a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Rather than reaching a settlement on their own, a judge will dictate a resolution between the plaintiff and defendant.

Whether you’re looking to win a medical malpractice trial or reach a settlement out of court, the medical malpractice attorneys at Merson Law PLLC can help you reach your goals. Get in touch with our team today by filling out the contact form on this page, or by calling our Manhattan office.

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