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Medical Malpractice

Understand Your Options for Resolving Your Medical Malpractice Claim

March 15, 2024

If you are suffering as a result of medical treatment gone wrong, it can be extraordinarily difficult to find a way forward. Your most immediate concern is getting healthy, getting back to work, and getting your bills paid. Then, you have to figure out whether you have a medical malpractice claim, which is challenging by itself. Most people just give up and move on with their lives to the best of their ability, even if it means suffering with lifelong disabilities. If you suspect that you have been harmed as a result of medical malpractice, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand your options. 


When you discuss medical malpractice claims, many people immediately think of going to court, i.e. entering the litigation process. While litigation is often the strongest option for getting the compensation victims deserve, it can be incredibly intimidating for victims, especially if they have never been in the court system. Just the thought of testifying in court can cause many people to give up. And for those who decide to push forward, the litigation process can be time-consuming and emotionally draining even though it often results in a successful outcome. 

That said, litigation is often the last step in the medical malpractice claim process. If you work with a lawyer, they can help you through the process step-by-step and minimize your anxiety. In addition, they can explain the alternatives to litigation and help you choose the path forward that makes the most sense for you.  


The first step in the medical malpractice claim process is to submit a demand for payment. This demand will outline the basis of the claim and that you will take legal action if they do not pay your claim. And while this demand letter may be sent to the at-fault medical provider, the reality is that their malpractice insurance carrier will be the one to decide whether or not the claim is paid. 

As a result, the demand for payment typically begins a negotiation process that could result in the settlement of your claim without ever having to file a lawsuit. If you do have to file a lawsuit, settlement remains an option right up until the case is decided by the judge or jury. In many cases, litigation actually encourages the other party to settle. Medical malpractice lawyers know how to navigate the claim process, but they are also skilled negotiators who know how to settle cases for the maximum amount available. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

In addition to the settlement, there are other quasi-judicial alternatives to traditional litigation that can be used to resolve medical malpractice claims. 


Mediation is a voluntary process where the parties meet with a neutral third party known as a mediator. The process is focused on helping the two parties reach a mutually agreeable resolution. It may take place over several meetings, some of which are where the parties meet with the mediator alone. The mediator is there to work with the two parties and help them reconcile their differences. The mediator does not decide the case or find in favor of one party or the other. Because medical malpractice cases are complex and require a finding of fault, many medical providers are unwilling to enter the mediation process. It is possible, but both parties need to agree. 


Arbitration is very similar to litigation but allows for cases to be resolved more quickly and less expensively. The process culminates with a single hearing in front of an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators who will hear testimony, receive evidence, and ultimately render a decision. Arbitration hearings can look very much like trials and require extensive preparation. Arbitration can be both binding and non-binding, meaning that you may be able to file a lawsuit if you don’t like the outcome (non-binding) or you may have to live with the outcome if you pursue binding arbitration. 

Both mediation and arbitration have advantages and disadvantages that are not always apparent. In addition, both parties must agree to participate in the process. For these reasons, you should discuss your case with a medical malpractice lawyer who can explain your options and choose the one that is best for you. 

Contact Ragain & Clark to Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Case

At Ragain & Clark, we’ve been helping medical malpractice victims in both Montana and Wyoming get the compensation they deserve for over 30 years. To discuss your case and your options, call us today at 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.


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