Interviewer: What do you think the success rate in medical malpractice case is?
Mark Taylor: It depends on how you define success. If success is getting some settlement, many times settlements are compromises. We help our clients to recognize what the risks are, like we might ultimately fail at trial. If those risks are high, we might take a discounted settlement, understanding that it’s better to get something than nothing. If there’s a big risk that we wouldn’t get anything, then you might consider a discounted settlement.
In the vast majority of our cases, once we take them and decide to file them, we do obtain a settlement that’s acceptable to our clients. There are the rare cases where just additional facts come out during the discovery period that lead us to believe there’s just no way we’re going to be successful on the claim.
There might be cases where our clients were not upfront with us and did tell us the whole story. We only learned the whole story after the litigation started. There’ve been a few cases like that that we recommended to our clients where they drop the claims. Those are rare.
If you look at it from the sense of what percentage of people that come to us believing they have a medical malpractice claim are successful in actually obtaining a settlement, it’s much lower, because through the evaluation process we may come to the conclusion that there’s just not a valid claim or that it’s just too uncertain to justify the investment that all of us would have to put into it.
We front all the money and the legal time. There are contingency fee agreements. It also takes a substantial investment of time on behalf of our clients. They’ve got to work with us at various stages in the case. They’ve got to appear for depositions, appear at mediation, and be ready to appear at trial. You’ve got to evaluate all that and sometimes you just say it just isn’t a strong enough case to pursue. I would say probably for more than half of the people who call us, we decide there’s not really a valid claim there that can be pursued.