All too often, a physician’s fear of liability will keep them from admitting to wrongdoing when they’ve made a mistake or otherwise subjected a patient to a subpar standard of care. When this occurs, patients may be either left in the dark that they’re now uniquely vulnerable to complications or they may be left suspecting that something is amiss and wondering how to uncover the truth.
Sometimes, though, a physician’s integrity or circumstance will allow a patient to benefit from clarity about their situation. A doctor may admit to having made a mistake or a mistake may be revealed to a patient by other means. In either scenario, when a patient knows that they’ve suffered harm due to substandard care, doctors and facilities that employ them may move swiftly to offer that patient a settlement.
Good faith vs. bad faith
It is important to have a professional review of the terms of any settlement offer that you’ve been provided. When you sign a settlement, you’ll almost certainly be agreeing not to sue the party that offered you the settlement. As a result, if you accept the terms of an offer before it has been reviewed, you may end up with far less compensation than you are rightfully owed.
In an effort to avoid the costs of medical malpractice litigation and negative press, a physician and/or hospital may offer a patient a settlement in good faith. This means that the offer is likely to reflect the true cost of the losses that the patient has incurred – and will incur in the future – as a result of their harm. Accepting the terms of a good-faith settlement is generally wise.
However, some negligent healthcare providers will also offer settlements in bad faith. Meaning, the terms of a settlement don’t reflect the true losses that a patient has suffered. Bad-faith settlements are almost always offered in the hopes that a patient is either too tired to fight for what they’re owed or too exhausted to seek legal guidance before signing away their right to sue.
By having a professional review the terms of any settlement you’ve been offered, you’ll better preserve your rights and protect your interests while navigating unquestionably challenging circumstances.