Why Settle? (Part Two)
In this second posting of our Why Settle? series, we will share additional situations when a psychiatrist may choose to settle a claim. Even if the jury returns a perfect verdict (i.e., you were not responsible for the injuries giving rise to the malpractice suit), the plaintiff may appeal the verdict. And the verdict might be overturned by the appellate court, requiring a retrial of the case. Even if the first level appeal upholds the verdict, there is in many states a second level of appeal. Settlements, on the other hand, are final. They can’t be appealed. The case is over, and you can get on with your life.
Finally, what about the National Practitioner Data Bank? It is true that medical malpractice insurance companies have to report settlements to the Data Bank, but ask yourself this: If a Data Bank record is fatal to a doctor’s ability to continue practicing medicine, would there be any obstetricians left practicing in the US? Any neurosurgeons? Any orthopedic surgeons? In reality, the entities with access to the Data Bank understand that sometimes claims are settled rather than contested to the bitter end, and they look at the facts of the case itself.
At PRMS, our goal is to help you avoid malpractice claims by giving you the tools to provide excellent patient care, but we want you to know that sometimes even when you have the right to control settlement, discretion is the better part of valor.