Case Resolutions: Timeframe, Trial, & Settlements
Interviewer: Do most of these cases settle or do they go to trial?
Charles Price: Again, most of the cases do settle but settlement is a function of how clear the negligence is. The clearer the negligence, the more likely the case is to settle. Obviously, the more disputed the negligence, the less likely the case is to settle. Another fact, frankly, is the expectations of the client. If the client’s expectations about compensation are unreasonable, then the case is less likely to settle. Usually the best clients are those clients who trust the lawyer that has been doing this a long time to know what their case is worth in terms of value and to follow the lawyer’s advice as best as they can with regard to what the lawyer thinks the case is worth. If the client just strongly disagrees, then certainly it’s more likely that the case will go to trial.
Interviewer: Based on your experience, are you able to gauge pretty accurately what a case may be worth, or is it always a crapshoot?
Charles Price: Usually you can gauge. After doing this for 42 years I usually have a range that I know a case might be worth. That will affect whether or not I will take a case on for investigation. It’s often that I don’t really know, but it certainly has to fall within a range based on the facts of the case for it be something that you want to pursue. Usually you do have pretty good sense of the value of the case from the beginning if you make certain assumptions about how strong the case is.
Interviewer: How long do these cases take from start to finish, ballpark?
Charles Price: Two to three years. Of course if you settle the case, the closer it may be to a year and a half. The more disputed the case, the closer it is going to be to three years.
Lost Wages & Day-to-Day Economic Survival
Interviewer: What do people do if they are injured and they are not able to work because of the malpractice? How do they survive?
Charles Price: It’s a real problem because there really is no mechanism for compensating a person for lost wages or medical bills. If they have been injured by medical malpractice, really they have to have insurance or it becomes a real problem for them both economically and living day-to-day because there isn’t any system for compensating them while the case is pending.