Thousands of Americans who suffer harm as a result of medical malpractice every year face innumerable challenges pursuing compensation. One of the most severe challenges is personal injury medical funding. Victims also require money to live and prosecute their cases in court. However, not every victim has the capacity to pursue both objectives. In this article, find out more about medical malpractice and how pre-settlement funding can be helpful to you as a plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit.
What Does a Medical Malpractice Funding Company Provide?
Medical Malpractice occurs when a health professional such as a doctor or a health institution such as a hospital causes harm to a patient as a result of a negligent act, omission, or commission. The degree of harm may vary from a simple injury, a lifetime injury to even death. For victims of medical malpractice, the search for justice is usually long, arduous, and overly expensive.
Some typical medical malpractices include:
- Wrong diagnosis
- Anaesthesia errors
- Dental malpractice
- Hospital staff negligence
- Surgical errors
- Post-surgical infections
- Pharmaceutical negligence
- Premature discharge
- Poor aftercare
For a claim to be considered medical malpractice, it requires the following characteristics: If the acceptable standard of care were not met by the health practitioner. If the patient, now the plaintiff, shows that the negligence resulted in an injury. That the injury resulted in significant damages then it leads to a Medical Malpractice lawsuit and the plaintiff would be the one looking for funding to help pay their bills during the lawsuit.
The Shocking Statistics: Over a period of 10 years from 2009-2018, the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) received 12,414 cases of medical malpractice annually. The data from NPDB indicate that the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida have the highest cases of medical malpractice. The state of Vermont, Wyoming, and North Dakota reported the lowest cases of medical malpractice.
The grave consequences of these statistics become clear when it comes to fatalities which have made medical malpractice to be among the leading cause of death in the United States. A study by Johns Hopkins University states that over 250,000 people succumb annually as a result of avoidable medical errors and negligence. Other studies put the figure at over 400,000.
Medical Malpractice Litigation Financing Companies
Medical malpractice lawsuits are commonplace across all states. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 99 percent of doctors face a minimum of one lawsuit by the time they are 65 years. This data corresponds to a report by Rand Corporation that the average physician spends at least ten percent of their time in the court corridors defending themselves from claims of medical malpractice.
As doctors bid time defending themselves in court, the victim\’s plight turns from bad to worse. Plaintiffs of medical malpractice litigation face severe odds in the search for justice. For starters, plaintiffs often find themselves at sea held at ransom by uncooperative insurance companies on one hand and delayed justice on the other. According to a 2017 survey by Medscape, medical malpractice suits take an average of 2 years to conclude. Depending on the degree of injuries or harm, the plaintiff could be rendered unable to gainfully work hence compounding their challenges.
In comes pre-settlement funding a way for injured parties to get cash while they wait for their case to be settled and paid out. So how does pre-settlement funding work?
The plaintiff of medical malpractice who finds themselves in financial straits may consider applying for pre-settlement funding. Pre-settlement funding is a method of financing that an individual applies as their lawsuit proceeds in a court of law. It is a mechanism of personal injury medical funding to a plaintiff.
Applying for pre-settlement funding
There are several steps that a plaintiff needs to take before qualifying for this type of suit funding. Here are the most important steps:
1) Sue the culpable health practitioner – Lawsuit funding companies hedge their risk on the outcome of a court case. Therefore, the basis of qualifying for pre-settlement funding is first and foremost suing the health professional who bears responsibility for the injuries. This could be a doctor, nurse, dentist, etc. Due to the legal meanders and technicalities, it is highly advisable to hire an attorney.
2) Find a pre-settlement company – The second step is finding a lawsuit funding company. Conduct a review of the company based on their interest, how fast they fund, and additional charges. With the help of an attorney, apply for the pre-settlement funding by submitting all the requisite documents. The documentation enables the company to evaluate your case and estimate its probability of success.
3) Get funding – If the lawsuit funding company is satisfied that your suit is likely to result in an award, the company goes ahead and pays some amount to the plaintiff. The money paid is usually a fraction expected court award. The plaintiff can now rest easy knowing that no matter how long the court case drags on, their immediate needs are catered for.
How pre-settlement funding helps plaintiffs for a Medical Malpractice Case
Pre-settlement funding comes in handy to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit in various ways such as;Personal injury medical funding. Some victims of medical malpractice require money to settle heavy hospital bills accruing from the malpractice by health practitioners. This is especially important where the plaintiff they have no medical insurance or the coverage limits have been exhausted.
Paying legal fees; Prosecuting medical malpractice lawsuits is a highly technical matter. Plaintiffs may not have the legal expertise to represent themselves in court even if they had a choice. Moreover, plaintiffs are usually up against a battery of attorneys representing insurance companies and the health professional in the dock. The plaintiff needs money to hire attorneys to represent them in negotiation and/or litigation.
Paying for living expenses – As plaintiffs battle in court, life must continue. Pre-settlement funding helps plaintiffs afford daily living expenses such as rent, food, and other essential expenses. This is particularly essential in instances where the plaintiff is no longer gainfully employed or is unable to juggle jobs due to mobility challenges. Meeting financial obligations.
When medical malpractice occurs, the plaintiff’s financial obligations such as mortgage payment and bank loan repayment continue apace and can go even longer if the case is appealed or if it’s a federal lawsuit or class action. Pre-settlement funding enables plaintiffs to continue servicing their obligations as they await the court\’s verdict.
Advantages of pre-settlement funding in medical malpractice suits
Pre-settlement funding portends several advantages to the plaintiff.
Here are a few of them: No recourse financing
Pre-settlement funding is also referred to a no recourse funding. This is because the plaintiff will not be liable to refund the lawsuit funding company if the health practitioner prevails in court. In essence, pre-settlement funding is not a loan akin to a commercial bank loan where the borrower is expected to repay back.
Financial muscle to the plaintiff – Pre-settlement funding gives the plaintiff much-needed financial muscle to face off with the well-oiled health practitioners and insurance companies. With this financing, the plaintiff is able to pay attorneys to represent them competently and argue their case. In absence of such financing, the plaintiff may be forced to take a significantly low award in an out-of-court settlement.
Save plaintiff from pecuniary embarrassment. The process of pursuing a medical malpractice case is long and may take up to five years. This is quite a long time to wait for an award which is never assured as the court may dismiss the malpractice claims. By opting for pre-settlement funding, plaintiffs are able to maintain a decent lifestyle free of pecuniary embarrassment such as being thrown out of their rental home.
Bargaining chip in negotiation – When a plaintiff’s case is strong with a high likelihood of striking a significant award, the defendants may signal an out-of-court settlement. Alternatively, both parties may be leaning toward a negotiated settlement to cut the cost of lengthy litigation. With money already in the pocket, pre-settlement funding allows the plaintiff to have a bargaining chip in the negotiation.