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A New Medical Malpractice System for New York?

A new way to expedite medical malpractice cases, first implemented in Bronx, is beginning to take hold in other parts of New York. Currently, medical malpractice lawsuits are often complex and time-consuming, can be expensive and emotionally-taxing to patients, and contribute to a court system that is often already overextended and underfunded. As a result, a new system for these cases has been created in New York that hopes to alleviate a number of these issues.

Fostering an Environment That Encourages Settlement

The new system is a program known as judge-directed negotiation. Under this model, a judge experienced in medical malpractice cases is assigned to oversee the case as soon as it is filed with the court. This judge is then responsible for overseeing the process and to help negotiate a settlement between the parties.

The model was proposed by judges within the New York court system and is part of a program being funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The AHRQ hopes this new model will become nationally accepted.

Prior to this latest model, the courts have tried to reduce the number of medical negligence cases filed by capping the amount of damages available, and to expedite the resolution process by encouraging providers to admit negligence in order settle compensation on the injured patient. Attempts such as these were often inconsistent and lacked uniformity.

Medical Malpractice Litigation Can Stretch for Months, Years

Presently, the pre-trial process for a medical malpractice case includes discovery, depositions and evidentiary issues that can go on for months or, in some cases, even years. In these cases, more than one judge may be involved and the process does not foster a real environment of settlement. According to a professor at Harvard Law, the average medical malpractice litigation case can last a total of three years from filing to resolution.

Because of the complicated and time-consuming nature of medical malpractice cases, the AHRQ believes that this new judge-directed model will help to lower costs and decrease the time from filing to resolution of these cases. With an experienced judge directing negotiations, the hope is that attention will be focused on the most important facts and issues quickly. This will not only allow negotiations to take place in a reasonable amount of time, but also in what is believed will be a fairer way.

New York's Model Applied Nationwide?

The AHRQ believes that if states accept this model on a nationwide basis, the cost of litigation could be decreased by as much as $1 billion annually. When the patients and the hospitals and doctors realize the amount of court costs that can be saved in a structured and balanced way, the parties are more open to making real attempts to settle the cases.

This new system would have real benefits for all parties. The judge appointed will quickly find the cases with merit, the parties will have a way to quickly and fairly get to the facts and a real monetary incentive to negotiate.

Contact Trolman, Glaser, & Lichtman, PC

Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman, P.C.
747 Third Avenue, 23rd Floor | New York, NY 10017
| Phone: 212-750-1200 | Toll Free: 1-888-484-5529 | Fax: 212-980-4011 | Email | New York Law Office

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Contact trolman, glaser & lichtman, PC

747 Third Avenue, 23rd Floor | New York, NY 10017|Phone: 212-750-1200|Toll-Free: 1-888-484-5529|Fax: 212-980-4011|Email