In Washington, mandatory mediation rules apply to many personal injury cases, including medical malpractice cases. Washington law requires the parties to attempt to settle the case with a mediator before a medical malpractice case may proceed in a superior court trial. Although all parties in a Washington medical malpractice cases must discuss their case with a mediator, some cases are more likely than others to settle at mediation. Recognizing these patterns will benefit your practice significantly, as you will be able to schedule mediation earlier and free up firm resources.
As soon as all necessary discoveries have been exchanged between the parties, it is a good time to schedule mediation. As more and more time goes by in a medical malpractice case, the parties often become more frustrated and less likely to settle. Therefore, medical malpractice cases that are still relatively young are more likely to settle at mediation.
Parties who express a strong desire to tell their side of the story are also excellent candidates for mediation. Mediation gives the parties a platform to tell the mediator about the incident and how it has affected their daily lives. In some cases, simply having the opportunity to vent frustrations makes settlement a strong possibility.
In many medical malpractice cases, it quickly becomes apparent that the parties have conflicting views of the facts, the applicable law, or both. These cases are especially well suited for mediation. Often, having a third party discuss the case and possible legal outcomes with the parties helps them understand other points of view. As soon as you realize that your case fits into this category, contact opposing counsel to schedule mediation.
By strategically planning medical malpractice mediation, you will increase the likelihood that your case will settle, keeping your clients happy and your office running efficiently.