ADR to solve medical malpractice cases: Part I

Victims of medical malpractice in Illinois not only suffer from serious injuries that can lead to lifelong disabilities, but often also suffer serious financial difficulties due to the exorbitant medical bills that are incurred. In some cases, although the patient has suffered from serious injuries due to the doctor’s negligence or has even died, the family may choose not to go through a lengthy legal procedure against the hospital and the doctor because they fear that they will not be able to emotionally or financially handle a lengthy court procedure. Research produced evidence that revealed that only 3 percent of injured patients actually sued for medical negligence.

An alternative dispute resolution mechanism, like arbitration or mediation, can be an option. Such alternative dispute resolution options are often preferred by medical institutions and the families of the victims who believe that the matter would have greater confidentiality and privacy during a difficult time.

It has been concluded by various studies that the average cost of medical malpractice lawsuits in total is approximately $122 billion annually. Many cases are dismissed out of court. Thus, a settlement through a mediator or an arbitrator is often more beneficial and is preferred by many people.

The people involved in an alternative dispute resolution mechanism have a greater ability to choose the way they wish their medical malpractice case to go. In most cases, the attorneys of either party negotiate with the parties depending on the merits and facts of the case. In a lot of cases, such negotiations have yielded a better result and settlement without going to court.

Source:, “Medical malpractice reforms: the role of alternative dispute resolution,” David H. Sohn and B. Sonny Bal, Accessed Aug. 7, 2015