Commentary

Why are cases settled?


 

“AFRAID OF GETTING SUED? A PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY OFFERS COUNSEL (BUT NO SYMPATHY)” JANELLE YATES (OCTOBER 2009)

To answer the question—raised during the interview with Dr. Laska—of why cases are settled, I offer the following: If the potential award is large, the doctor may be afraid that his or her personal assets will be attached when the monetary verdict exceeds coverage. In such a situation, settlement is safer even if the allegations are spurious.

Dr. Laska is correct that insurance companies do not like to settle. However, hospitals that self-insure will sometimes settle to avoid the potential financial “bomb” of a large jury verdict. This benefits high-profile attorneys who have won large awards, who use financial fear to settle cases that should have gone to trial.

Steven Klein, MD
Mineola, NY

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