More and more nowadays, physicians, physician groups and hospitals are recognizing the value in effective physician-patient communication with respect reducing liabilities. Put simply, patients are less likely to sue when physicians and hospitals staff communicate effectively with patients.
Two particularly important aspects of effective communication are to provide information to patients when treatments, procedures, and surgeries don’t go as expected, and to offer heartfelt apology when mistakes are made. The idea is that by providing patients information and understanding, patients can diffuse the emotions that make patients more likely to litigate.
There are a lot of considerations that go into the decision to pursue medical malpractice litigation, of course, and feeling informed and respected is certainly one of them. Even when a patient feels informed and respected, though, there should be a consideration of economic and legal matters before the decision is made to not pursue litigation.
Medical malpractice litigation, of course, can be costly, time consuming and stressful, as well as strategically challenging. In cases where a patient suffers serious damages and the merits of the claim are strong, the payout can be significant, but most patients end up either settling their claims outside court or dropping them altogether. Settling is, in many cases, the best way to resolve medical malpractice cases, if the physician is willing to negotiate.
Working with an experienced attorney is essential, whether a patient is looking to sue or settle. A skilled attorney will be able to clarify a patient’s goals and identify the relevant issues and applicable legal principles in the case, as well as the patient’s prospects in litigation and effective ways to effectively resolve the case outside court.