You have a big trial looming; let’s say an infant death or quadriplegia case. You think the medicine is sound, your experts are comfortable with their positions and the client wants to go forward. At the same time, the injuries to the plaintiff are substantial. Do you “roll the dice” with a jury, or do you settle for a “reasonable amount”? This is the dilemma faced by medical malpractice lawyers every day, and the decisions required here are not easily made.

Medical malpractice cases are high-stakes events. Although defendants continue to prevail in 64 percent of trials, when the plaintiff wins, the median amount of the verdict is $1.2 million. Jury Verdict Research, LPR Publications, Horsham, PA, 2003. There were 19,007 malpractice payment reports in 2003 according to the National Practitioner Data Bank, with the median payment for physicians being $160,000; for obstetrics, $290,000.

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