How often to medical malpractice cases settle before going to trial?
The short answer: many times but not always. Because of their complexity and sometimes simply because the healthcare providers do not like to readily admit fault, malpractice cases generally take longer to resolve than – say – automobile accident cases. If the case is properly investigated and is shown to be meritorious during the pre-trial phase (such as during or after discovery) , many of these cases settle out of court. Settlement can also occur during or after a trial. In many jurisdictions, the law calls for mandatory mediation. Mediation is when all the parties and their lawyers meet with a neutral person, who is experienced in these types of cases, to see if a case can be resolved/settled before going to trial. This mediation usually occurs after the discovery phase and prior to trial. Some jurisdictions have mandatory early mediation (e.g. the District of Columbia). While some cases settle early in the process – even before the discovery phase – this is (unfortunately) the exc