Should You Accept a Medical Malpractice Settlement Offer?

Medical malpractice reform has recently been in the news. There is a movement in some places to have doctors and hospitals apologize for their mistakes and make a settlement offer. At first glance it is looks like such a program might improve patient safety and decrease the amount of time it takes to get a
medical malpractice settlement.

However, a system of apologizing and making offers for medical mistakes may have potential disadvantages for patients who have been hurt. The concern is that patients will view the doctor or hospital offer as the only offer and that they will accept the offer without a full understanding
of their legal rights.

A doctor or hospital that has not been negligent is not required to pay damages. However, if a preventable mistake occurred that resulted in physical harm then a patient may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, out of pocket expenses, pain,
suffering and other damages.

If doctors and hospitals settle for the full amount owed to a patient than a program of apology and offer may work well. If not, then patients may suffer further.