Many medical malpractice claims are resolved without going to trial – but not all of them. Sometimes, a physician is just as adamant that their treatment met the applicable standard of care as the patient is sure that it did not.
When the two are at an impasse, a settlement may not be possible. A high-low agreement might be the next best thing.
How does a high-low agreement work?
Settlements require both parties to come to some reasonable agreement about what is fair to both sides. There’s no way to reach that middle ground, however, when neither side is willing to give a little on their position – and that means going to trial.
Essentially, a high-low agreement is a way for both sides of the dispute to hedge their bets. The reality is that once a case is put before a jury, anything can happen. A plaintiff who is absolutely certain that they’re due compensation for their real or perceived losses can end up with much less than they expect, and a physician who is certain that they made no genuine errors can end up paying much more than would if they had settled.
A high-low agreement can take some of the anxiety and risk out of the trial for both sides. Usually confidential in nature, these are agreements where the plaintiff agrees to accept a fixed maximum, even if the jury grants them a favorable verdict with a much higher dollar figure involved. In return, the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff a minimum dollar amount even if the jury denies the plaintiff’s claim.
If you’re facing a potential medical malpractice lawsuit, you owe it to yourself to consider all the pros and cons of every option that’s available. Experienced legal guidance can help you through.