Medical Mediation, Does It Work?
In much of the legal system, mediation is seen as a preferable option to oftentimes lengthy litigation. It would stand to reason then, that medical mediation would be the preferable option to medical malpractice lawsuits. As the Journal Sentinel explains, it commonly is not.
When one man’s wife suffered a fatal heart attack in her hospital room one day after undergoing back surgery, he began looking for an explanation.
After having had his case turned down and citing other road blocks, he turned to his state’s Medical Mediation Panels.
The panels are agencies that were created to provide “informal, inexpensive and expedient means for resolving (medical malpractice) disputes without litigation.”
Only, that is not what happened with the panels. Of the 302 claims filed with the agency in 2012 and 2013, more than 60 percent ended up listed as “expired,” which means that they died because of procedural or scheduling problems. Only 22 percent actually went to hearings and only two of those were actually resolved at the hearings.
The man stated, “The Medical Mediation Panels has, for all practical purposes, no authority at all…I was under the impression that once you agree to mediation you would be obligated to it and honor bound to come in and answer the questions. That’s not the case.”
What he says instead happened was the facility where his wife died exercised its veto power before mediation, which effectively closed his case.
This brings up a valid point for those individuals who have been the victims of medical malpractice. That is, the need for individuals to consult with a medical malpractice attorney if they have been injured.
Many plaintiff and defense lawyers say they have little faith in the process and simply try to avoid spending time and money participating in mediation.
Florida law also contains statutes dedicated to “mandatory mediation and mandatory settlement conference in medical negligence actions.”
It is best to have a competent medical malpractice attorney assess your claim before you rush into any binding agreements or contracts. Oftentimes, an experienced attorney will be able to tell you what avenue is in your best interest and which one is financially feasible.
Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area