In most jurisdictions, mediation is necessary before a medical malpractice case can be scheduled for trial. The timing of mediation is often left to the discretion of the parties and their attorneys. However, many Washington attorneys find themselves wondering, when is the best time to schedule mediation with a medical malpractice mediator? Although the answer is not black and white, there are guidelines that attorneys should consider.
For many attorneys, as soon as a medical malpractice claim is filed, they begin attempting settlement negotiations. Sometimes doing so has drawbacks. Many attorneys will wonder how strong your position truly is if you seem too eager to settle the case. Additionally, if a case does settle early on in the process before adequate discovery is done, the attorney may end up facing a malpractice lawsuit.
Similarly, waiting too long in a case to schedule mediation may decrease the odds of settlement. Medical malpractice cases can be extremely emotional, and getting too close to trial can cause both sides to become set in their positions.
Although the timing for each individual case will vary, scheduling mediation before the case has dragged on for years and after enough information has been gathered is often a good general rule to follow.