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Factors to consider when filing a malpractice case in Arizona

For a doctor, settling a malpractice case is not an easy decision to make, according to a recent piece providing perspective from the other side of the docket. While settling a case provides for a resolution to a potentially embarrassing situation, a settlement may also have to be reported to medical boards and to the hospital where the doctor works. This could lead to further review and investigation by employers and other peers into the matter. For this reason, doctors who are sure that their actions are defensible might press for a trial over a settlement. This suggests that patients pursuing a malpractice claim who are pressured to settle early might do well to consider going to trial or hold out for a larger settlement instead, depending on their lawyers' counsel.

The increased scrutiny that comes with a settlement and being reported to medical boards could make it harder for a doctor to receive medical privileges or get a job with a new employer. Therefore, some doctors may feel that going through a trial is worth defending their good name. However, a settlement could make it possible to get compensation to an injured patient faster -- but it also may ensure that the amount of the settlement is within the doctor's medical malpractice insurance coverage limits. If it is not, the doctor's personal assets may be liquidated to cover the excess damages.

When deciding whether or not to go to trial, doctors may want to think as a juror would. While a doctor may be able to contextualize his or her decision to take or not take a specific action, a juror may not see it the same way. If a jury goes against the doctor, he or she could be on the hook for damages even if the doctor thinks his or her actions were appropriate.

A patient who is injured by a doctor's misdiagnosis or a medical professional's surgical errors may file a medical malpractice suit. A medical malpractice lawyer could evaluate the case and determine if going to trial or accepting a settlement would be the wiser course to take.

Source: Family Practice News, "Settling a malpractice suit is seldom a straightforward decision", Alicia Gallegos, August 12, 2014

Source: Family Practice News, "Settling a malpractice suit is seldom a straightforward decision", Alicia Gallegos, August 12, 2014

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