There are few people who would willing choose to spend months in litigation or thousands of dollars to hire the high-quality lawyers needed to protect their rights. However, regardless of what we might choose to do, when the negligence of another person leaves us injured, it is important to do everything in our means to protect our rights.
Unfortunately, part of the health care bill that was proposed by the Obama Administration leaves victims of medical malpractice in New York without the ability to receive the full financial compensation they deserve.
Under the federally-funded project, courts in New York are experimenting with a new method to resolve medical malpractice cases. An article in the Wall Street Journal explains that judges will get involved in malpractice earlier than they usually do. The judge meets with lawyers from both parties but delays meeting with the actual clients.
During the initial meeting, judges work with the lawyers to achieve a fair settlement. If a settlement is reached, the injured party will likely receive compensation much sooner than if he or she waited to go to court with the lawyer.
However, there is also a significant downside. According to the deputy counsel of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the average payment in medical malpractice cases had decreased more than $100,000 in the past few years. One of the major causes for that are earlier settlements.
When injured parties accept the earliest offers of a settlement, they often receive less than they might if they waited until later in the legal proceedings. The president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association added that the settlement conference led by the judge can create pressure for clients to accept compensation that is less than what they deserve.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “New York Judges Aim to Curb Medical Malpractice Litigation Costs,” Nathan Koppel, 13 June 2011