Resolving Medical Malpractice Claims Through Mediation
Medical errors happen frequently. Research shows that medical errors in hospitals and clinics cause approximately 100,000 deaths yearly. Research also suggests that most malpractice claims in hospitals are related to surgical errors. Other types of common medical errors include misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, medication errors, and applying the wrong treatment. Often, medical errors occur because of the negligence of medical professionals. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or your loved one has died because of medical negligence, you might have a medical malpractice claim. You might have the right to obtain compensation from the negligent health professional.
If you believe you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or died because of medical negligence, you may think your only option is going to trial. But a jury trial is not the only way to resolve medical malpractice cases. One of the most commonly used alternatives to a trial is mediation. However, while there are numerous benefits associated with mediating medical malpractice cases, mediation also has some downsides.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation involves both parties meeting with a mutually selected, or at times, a court-appointed, neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator’s work is to help the parties communicate and negotiate. The role of the mediator is to help the parties reach a mutually satisfactory decision. The mediator does not act as a decision-maker or judge. Additionally, a mediator cannot offer legal advice to either party. For this reason, it is crucial that you have an experienced attorney by your side who understands your case and the medical malpractice landscape.
Mediation is voluntary and non-binding unless and until an agreement is reached. If you and the negligent health professional agree to mediate, you can terminate the process anytime.
Benefits of Mediation
Below are some of the main benefits of mediation;
- Promotes open communication: Mediation offers the victim or victim’s family a chance to express their grievances in an informal and confidential way before the negligent medical professional. Likewise, the medical professional is given a chance to tell their side of the story. A skilled mediator can help both parties negotiate in a constructive and calm way.
- Cost-effective: Taking a medical malpractice case to trial can be expensive. Often, multiple medical experts are required to testify, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Mediation can eliminate many of the expenses associated with trials, making it a more cost-effective option.
- Less traumatic: Going to court can be emotionally traumatic for plaintiffs. Mediation offers a less aggressive way for parties to be heard and reach an agreement without unnecessary stress and anxiety. While getting a trial scheduled can often take years, followed perhaps by one or more years of appeals, a mediation can bring a prompt resolution to the case.
Disadvantages of Mediation
The following are some of the potential disadvantages of mediation;
- Mediation may not result in a resolution if the parties are entrenched in opposing viewpoints and their suggested solutions are very far apart. This could mean that the plaintiff may have to go through the mediation process only to go through the lengthy court process, anyway.
- If the health professional is more aggressive than the plaintiff, the mediator may not be able to control the process well enough to keep it fair.
- Mediation often costs several thousand dollars, which ultimately reduces the plaintiff’s net recovery.
Contact an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you need help deciding how best to handle your medical malpractice case, contact our skilled and dedicated Atlanta medical malpractice attorney at Carroll Law Firm.