How long does a medical malpractice settlement take?

Posted in: Medical Malpractice | Oct 28,2021

If thinking about going up against insurance companies and powerful healthcare interests gives you pause, you’re not alone. It can be a rigorous process with roadblocks all along the way. Just how long does a medical malpractice settlement take? The answer, as you might guess, is that it varies. However, there are some basic guideposts that nearly all medical malpractice cases encounter. 

The typical medical malpractice case in Indiana can take months to more than a year, with some cases taking two to three years. What determines the length are factors such as: 

  • Finding the guilty party or parties. Medical care is highly team-oriented and multiple persons and parties, including doctors, nurses, pharmaceutical firms, technical advisors and ambulance services, can bear or share responsibility. Establishing the facts of the case and breach of standard of care takes time.
  • Forming a medical review panel (MRP).  The Indiana law is designed in such a way that a panel of medical experts and an independent attorney reviews the case first. They form an opinion and make a recommendation to the plaintiff and defense. At that point, there may be a settlement, or it may go to court.
  • Strategic delays. A defense team may try to inject “litigation fatigue” into the proceedings by finding ways to delay the case. These sometimes demoralizing delays could include objections to the review panel or delays in scheduling experts for depositions. Note that in-demand experts are busy and sometimes difficult to schedule even in the best situation.

There could be a lag within the time of treatment and the discovery of injury or harm. The statute of limitations, with exceptions for young children, for filing a case in Indiana is two years. Attorneys versed in the intricacies of medical malpractice law, with a history of success in achieving settlements on behalf of their clients, paired with the right medical experts, can bring a medical malpractice case to settlement in a more satisfactory and efficient fashion. 

Medical malpractice settlement amounts vary. In nationwide data, they hover around $400,000 average, but cases can go higher. Under Indiana law, the defendant and the insurance carrier are responsible for the first $400,000 of damages. The Indiana Department of Insurance is responsible for any additional damages up to a maximum of $1,250,000. If a jury were to award a higher amount, the judge will automatically reduce the statutory maximum recovery of $1,650,000.