Florida Medical Malpractice Settlement Process
The settlement process in Florida is just a matter of negotiations between the parties communicated by their attorneys. It is important to note that settlement negotiations can happen at any time during a case. For many medical negligence claims, negotiations do not occur until the case is close to trial — especially for higher-value cases. Even then, a settlement may not occur at all.
Of course, the Florida medical malpractice settlement process includes an opportunity for the parties to participate in mediation, which can also happen at any time. It is just a matter of the parties negotiating numbers and coming to an agreement on an amount with the help of qualified legal counsel.
Opportunities to Settle
There are several options for settling a medical malpractice case in Florida. A settlement is an option at any time during a pending case, whether it is in pre-suit or litigation. There is a pre-suit period before a medical malpractice claim can be filed where either party may settle the claim so that litigation never has to ensue. While it is rare that cases are settled in pre-suit, it can and does happen.
There are also opportunities throughout litigation to settle a medical negligence claim. Sometimes, a case could be settled immediately after a deposition is taken or after some discovery and conversations between lawyers have taken place. If a case gets set for trial in Florida, state law typically requires mediation to occur at that time.
Mediation is a settlement conference where all the parties come together to discuss their demands and offers. There would be a neutral party, or mediator, who listens to both sides and works with them to resolve the case and agree to a number. These are some of the opportunities to settle that are available to a claimant before the trial occurs.
Some cases are settled during the trial or before the jury comes back from deliberations. These are all viable options for initiating the Florida medical malpractice settlement process.
Who Decides Whether to Settle?
The decision to settle always lies with the claimant. An experienced attorney could advise them about whether a settlement is a good offer or not as well as whether it should be rejected or not. Ultimately though, it is up to them to decide whether they want to accept any offers, walk away, or go to trial. It is the client’s decision.
The Time it Takes to Receive a Settlement
The lower the value of a case, the less time it will take for a claimant to receive a settlement. A case worth millions of dollars will take a long time to conclude, but the length of time varies on a case-by-case basis. Circumstances which can significantly impact the time it takes to receive a settlement include:
- The defendant being sued
- The attorney who is representing the defendant
- The value of the case
- How many witnesses they need to depose
- How much discovery needs to be had
- How complicated the case is
In many cases, it can take years for the Florida medical malpractice settlement process to conclude because defendants involved in these claims do not want to pay, especially in high dollar amount situations. The only way that the process can be expedited is if the plaintiff is willing to take less than what their case is worth.