Medical malpractice cases often deal with heartbreaking situations ranging from distressing injury to wrongful death. If you are trying to sue a doctor or other medical professional for something that you believe qualifies as malpractice, you want to send that doctor a message. However, going through with a full court case should be approached with caution. There are times and places for full court cases -- make no mistake about that. But sometimes mediation might be a better route. You and your lawyer have to look at the situation carefully.
Medical malpractice cases that have gone to court can be delayed over and over again. The actual case can also drag on. You could be looking at years of waiting, filling out additional paperwork, going back to the courthouse, and so on. Mediation, though, can be a lot faster. A September 2006 study in the journal "Health Affairs" found that the average mediation time was less than two and a half hours, with maximum times of about four and a half hours spread over a few days. That is a lot faster than a court case. Awards weren't shabby either, with the same study finding the median (not the average) to be about $111,000. If you do not feel up to dealing with a full court case, mediation could be more appropriate depending on the core of the case.
Does Not Necessarily Prevent Defendant From Admitting Blame
A common feature of alternative resolutions like settlements is a clause stating that the defendant admits no wrongdoing, or something similar to that. Mediation does not require you to accept that the defendant is not admitting wrongdoing. Many mediated cases result in apologies and similar admissions of guilt.
Mediation is not likely to result in those huge multi-million dollar awards you hear about on the news. That previously mentioned "Health Affairs" study found maximum awards before 2006 to be only $400,000, which is nothing to sneeze at, but even if you double that for current awards, you're still not looking at millions. If you are trying to get a large award, a court case is more appropriate than mediation.
Does Not Seem as Punishing
Even though the defendant can still admit wrongdoing, a mediated case doesn't seem as punishing. While you should approach court cases with a level head and not out of blind revenge, sometimes you do need to show that the situation was serious and not just a little mistake. A court case verdict would be more appropriate in that case than mediation.
Speak with your malpractice lawyer about which way to go. You'll have to look over your case and all the factors involved to make a decision, but your lawyer will be able to help you find the best path.