Medical malpractice can result in serious long-term damage to the victim. Even in cases where the problem caused by malpractice can be fixed relatively quickly, no one should have to endure harm at a hospital. If you were the victim of medical malpractice, you may have already received an offer of compensation from the hospital or medical practitioner. If so, contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Baltimore immediately. Never sign a settlement without having a lawyer review it first.
4 Reasons You Should Never Settle Without Consulting a Medical Malpractice Attorney
1. Your Settlement Offer Could Be Much Greater
Usually setttlements come after lawsuits. If you are already getting a setttlement offer but you haven’t filed a lawsuit, that is a sign that the hospital knows they made a big mistake. They’re trying to get ahead of the problem and avoid legal action by offering you a settlement. Chances are that offer could be much higher if you had proper legal representation. Many initial offers will just cover your medical bills with maybe a little extra to compensate for the inconvenience.
However, your medical bills aren’t the only form of economic loss you’ve endured. Lost wages, medication, and equipment for your home to aid your mobility while you recover are often unaccounted for in an initial settlement offer. Plus, you may get more for your pain and suffering with a medical malpractice lawyer’s guidance. Learn what constitutes medical malpractice, how malpractice claims go through the court system, and how a lawyer can help; for more information, click here.
2. Your Settlement Offer May Exclude Future Damages
Most early settlement offers will only focus on your current financial damages. They may waive all of your medical bills, but what about expenses in the future? Many forms of medical malpractice leave patients permanently affected. Others may require years to fully recover. Who will cover that expense and also make up for missing work or the extra transportation expenses required to go to therapy or the hospital?
According to Maryland law, you are allowed to include future damages in a lawsuit so that those expenses are covered by your settlement. Hospitals are unlikely to offer these future damages up front, so you will need to sit down with a lawyer to determine how much you can justify in a lawsuit. When the hospital receives the formal notice that you’ve filed a suit, they will likely need to update their settlement offer considerably.
3. There May Be Other Conditions in the Fine Print
Even if you have already looked at the numbers and feel that the settlement offer you’ve been given is more than sufficient for you economically, you should still have a lawyer review the full agreement. Settlements often include a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. NDAs can be legally enforced and often come with serious consequences if you violate the terms. You may even have to return your whole settlement for violating your NDA! It’s important to understand the exact terms and conditions of the settlement.
For example, if you receive a settlement offer, accept it, and then proceed to make a post on social media touting your payout, you could run afoul of the terms and conditions of the NDA clause in your settlement. Although most NDAs allow you to share details with individuals who have a legitimate need to know, such as family members, publicly disclosing information about your settlement could create serious problems. Ask a lawyer to read the fine print with you.
4. Payment Terms Could Result in Long Waits
Another common problem with early settlement offers is the way your settlement is paid out. In many cases, the initial offer will include payments in installments, which is obviously more convenient for the hospital, but it may not be what’s most convenient for you. Structured settlements, as they’re known, may be beneficial in some instances, but you should still review the exact terms and conditions with a lawyer.
As with any aspect of your settlement, how you are paid is negotiable. If you aren’t satisfied with how the settlement proposes to deliver compensation, ask a lawyer to help you. You deserve to receive your compensation in the way that is most helpful to you, both in the short term and the long term.
Always Get a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Baltimore to Review Your Settlement Offer
- When you accept and sign a settlement offer, you are signing a binding agreement. No further action can be taken against the hospital or the medical practitioners involved in your medical malpractice case. Therefore, you should always be 100% sure that you are satisfied with the offer before signing on the dotted line.Look for a medical malpractice lawyer in Baltimore so that you can review your offer with an expert. You may be able to get more compensation and can avoid falling into legal traps that often come with settlements.