Limitations of Medical Malpractice Early Offer Programs

Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The traditional method for recovering damages if injured by a medical professional in Ohio is to hire a lawyer to litigate any claims that you have.  Medical malpractice claims are based on a “Contingency Fee,” which boils down to nothing coming out of the injured party’s pocket unless there is a recovery for them.

The lawyer will set aside a percentage of any proceeds of a recovery for their services, whether it comes from a settlement or a jury verdict.  The lawyer may also reimburse themselves for any costs assumed to proceed with the claim, but only if there is a settlement or verdict.  The clear benefit of the contingency fee is the injured person does not have to pay anything for the attorney’s services unless there is a recovery for their injury.

The American Association for Justice reported that New Hampshire has a new law regarding how medical malpractice claims may be pursued.  This is the first law of this type in the nation.  The law contains an “Early Offer” provision which allows personal injury victims of medical malpractice to sign up for a program that can compensate them without using the litigation system for recovery of damages.  No lawyers are required to participate in the program. The injured person can take care of it entirely by themselves, but in the process may settle their claim for an amount well short of what it’s really worth.
The New Hampshire law is controversial.  It severely limits the possibility of several types of legal damages.  Most importantly, it does not allow for recovery of noneconomic damages.  This means the injured person is basically signing a waiver saying that they will not be able to recover for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

When you are injured by a physician or other medical professional, you may not know what the extent of your long term injuries are for years.  You may suffer consequences from the medical malpractice for life.  Settling quickly, without an attorney, could result in never being able to recover for all of your losses, past, present and future.

Watch for proposed legislation similar to the New Hampshire “Early Offer” law to appear in Ohio.  This type of law is not beneficial to victims of medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one is injured by a physician, protect your future by calling Slater & Zurz, LLP at 1-888-534-4850  for a free consultation with an Ohio attorney that has extensive experience in medical malpractice and personal injury.