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Medical Malpractice Law

Practice Guidelines as an Affirmative Defense

Practice Guidelines as an Affirmative Defense

An affirmative defense is created, on the side of the defendant, to argue against the plaintiffs' claim in a legal proceeding. At times, medical malpractice lawsuits require an affirmative defense if the lawyer is skillful enough to put it into practice. While not used in the same way as many other defenses, the affirmative defense is based on practice guidelines, and takes a certain amount of skill to argue. 

All medical institutes have certain practice guidelines that establish their usual behaviors within the office. At times, these guidelines are already mandated by the state, but a practice may go beyond the mandated guidelines to incorporate their own rules. Patients should have knowledge of the medical practice's guidelines as they go through a medical consultation, and enter into what eventually may become a medical procedure. The question that the courts and defense lawyers will grapple with on both sides is whether or not the practice guidelines were clear enough to limit or excuse a level of negligence on the part of the doctor.

An affirmative defense based on practice guidelines inherently will argue that the patient was well informed by the doctor prior to the medical operation. The patient will mostly likely argue that the guidelines of the medical practice were not explained in enough detail, or that they were not directly clear enough for him or her to be properly informed. This is a slippery slope, because at face value, the argument can go either way. It is up to the defense attorney on behalf of the medical practice to argue that the practice guidelines were clear enough to avoid liability of negligence. 

In some cases, asserting an affirmative defense in this manner does admit to a level of culpability, but instead of attempting to exonerate the defendant, the goal is to limit damages. While lawyers are usually defined in terms of winning and losing, some of the better malpractice defense lawyers are marked by their ability to limit damages to their client.

Already expecting what can be termed as a loss to the doctor, in some cases, may admit that he or she is liable to a degree, and that he or she did commit an error that would usually not have occurred. The goal then is to minimize financial harm and ensure their client can keep their medical license.

Every medical establishment, no matter if it is the largest hospital or the smallest clinic, develops a form of practice guidelines. From these guidelines the medical professionals in the office take their direction and execute their tasks both adhering to the medical code of ethics and their own practice’s rules.

These rules can come in quite handy during a medical malpractice case. If the doctor clearly explained every detail of the procedure to the patient and informed the patient of the practice’s guidelines then it would be difficult to claim any form of medical malpractice. While many choose to fault doctors in malpractice cases the patient also has a level of responsibility with respect to processes before and after the procedure.

Need to Know Facts of Medical Malpractice Defense

Need to Know Facts of Medical Malpractice Defense

 

Medical Malpractice Defenses

There are a variety of different medical malpractice defenses. In many cases these defenses rest on proving the doctor did was not negligent in their methodology. One way to achieve such a goal is to argue that whatever malady occurred was first set in motion by the patient. That is to say the patient either did not follow the doctor’s directions exactly or did not disclose all of their medical history before the procedure or prescription was handed out.

This would be then negligence on the part of the patient negating the medical malpractice lawsuit. There are also different types of affirmative defenses as well that can go to show the doctors methodology was correct. Equally sometimes the best medical malpractice defense lawyers move to limit the financial liability of their clients, minimizing damages. This usually involves some measure of admitting a level of negligence on the part of the doctor.

The Respectable Minority Rule

Some medical illness require a more radical and aggressive approach in order to achieve a recovery for the patient. Advanced stages of cancer and sever illnesses without a known cure yet require innovation and a higher level of risk taking on the part of doctors. However, this may force a doctor into the minority of medical thinking outside the dominate forms of medical practice. Doctors engaging in these treatments are usually protected by the Respectable Minority Rule.

These medical malpractice cases can be very in depth with both sides calling expert witnesses either challenging or supports the doctor in question methods. Sometimes medical malpractice cases such as these can be over before they begin the patient signed an informed consent document.

This would mean that the patient was already aware of all the inherent risks involved in the method of treatments the doctor was going to pursue. Other times if the doctor is too far outside their scope of employment to the patient they will be found negligent in a court of law and serious penalties will be levied upon the doctor.

Practice Guidelines as an Affirmative Defense

Clinical Innovation

The medical field is always advancing and needs to in order to meet demands by the patients. Clinical innovation has a history that dates back to the first doctor. However it was greatly different than then now. Then practices could harm people; seriously harm them, as doctors went about testing methods of treatment trying to figure out which one would end up working best. However, doctors then and now do share an aspect of clinic innovation that remained the same, it can be controversial.

In some instances it is the use of cutting edge technology and riskier procedures to achieve levels of service faster and better than currently available. However, this can increase the risks as well leading to complications for the patient. Yet, in a court of law the defense would argue in a malpractice suit that the clinical innovation was necessary to achieve the intended goals and the patient was fully informed of the risks involved.

Good Samaritan Acts

Good acts should always be rewarded, yet in the highly legalized society of American culture it took a law to protect good citizens. Good Samaritan laws protect individual who come to the aid of someone who is in medical distress. This can be any form of aid given to any form of medical distress; Good Samaritan laws are in fact quite broad. However, from state to state there are nuanced but important differences.

In some states not all people are allowed to provide medical aid if the situation would call for it, only doctors and nurses are allowed to provide aid and are protected under the Good Samaritan laws. In other states, like Vermont for example, turning your back on a person in need is not only morally wrong but criminal. There Good Samaritan laws require some form of aid be given, even if it is just to dial 9-1-1. It becomes important for citizens when traveling outside their home state to known Good Samaritan laws so they can be legally protected.

Statute of Limitations

Aside from negligence in medical malpractice there are other factors that are present when filing a medical malpractice suit. One very large factor is the statute of limitations when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, this refers to the time elapsed from the procedure to the personal injury incurred by the patient and to the filing date. These laws also vary greatly from state to state and force patients to make tough decisions. The longer the statue of limitations the more time it allows for patients to weight the costs and benefits of medical malpractice litigation.

In some instances the cost outweighs the benefits and therefore the patients never file. In states where the statue of limitations is relatively short it forces patients into a tough moral and fiscal question that needs to be answered promptly. In some cases the patients go ahead with the trail without realizing what will be the full legal costs. However, statutes of limitations are necessary to protect doctors from patients that would file lawsuits decades in the future pertaining to a procedure done well in their past.

Contributory Negligence from Patient

One form of an affirmative defense that can particular effective in out rightly winning the case is to pass the negligence onto the patient. In these cases the doctor’s lawyer will argue that any personal injury that arose after a prescribed medicine or medical procedure could have been avoided if the patient did not do certain actions. Most commonly there is a before and after sense to contributory negligence of a patient. Before the procedure or medical activity in general he or she may not disclose their full medical record.

The doctor then is not responsible if an error occurs because he was not fully informed of his patient’s history. Afterwards can manifest itself in forms of patient self medication or not following the doctor’s directions after a medical procedure completely which can cause grounds for a medical malpractice case to be thrown off the docket. These problems would end up mitigating a medical malpractice lawsuit. In a legal sense actions like those mentioned above, intercede during the doctor’s negligence, in essence making an argument that the chicken came before the egg.

Multiple Defendants

Liability and negligence go hand in hand in medical malpractice lawsuits. Different states view liability in different manners as well, in some cases creating multiple defendants. In some states, and this usually pertains to surgery, when one doctor is negligent the whole team of doctors in the surgical room are then deemed negligent as well. This is one of the quickest ways to create medical malpractice lawsuits that involve multiple defendants.

In other states, however, only the doctor that was directly responsible for the negligence is held accountable for the mistake thereby limiting the liability of the entire medical team found within the surgical room. In many surgeries there is more than one doctor present, either performing different functions, helping with the direct surgery, or overseeing in an effort to make sure everything goes smoothly. Do to the lack of an overarching federal law it is up to the states to define liability in medical malpractice cases.

Lost Chance of Survival

Wrongful death suits are common in medical malpractice law. However, these are some of the most complex cases to argue as it can bring in many different moving elements into a case. Usually the wrongful death is caused by a failure to diagnosis an illness or a misdiagnosis of an illness. In many respects this can be a case of simple human error and not negligence. It really comes down to a matter of a doctor’s opinion and whether or not he was justified in making the diagnosis in the manner he did.

If the doctor in question did not follow his practices guidelines though it may be ground for negligence making this case much simpler. However, some illnesses mask themselves as other illnesses and become hard to diagnosis. In these cases it will fall to expert witnesses and the extensive use of scholarly journals to prove the arguments by both the plaintiff and the defendant. Matters of opinion are usually a difficult area of litigation because both sides may have some validity to their argument.

If you need legal advice and assistance, contact malpractice lawyers or medical malpractice lawyers.

 

Statute of Limitations Shouldn’t Rush You

Statute of Limitations Shouldn't Rush You

 

There are different elements of medical malpractice that need to be taken into account during the process of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Some factors may mitigate a medical malpractice lawsuit. Many claims need to be filed within the statute of limitations, within a certain time period, when medical malpractice occurred. If filed after the statue of limitations the medical malpractice lawsuit would not be found valid and the case would be dismissed off the docket.

The statute of limitations in some cases force people to make a decision rather quickly. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be very expensive both for the personal filing the claim and the medical professional being sued. In some cases medical malpractice lawsuits can be drawn out over a long course of time so the initial costs of filing a lawsuit do not reflect what could be the overall cost of the lawsuit. This is especially true when a patient brings a lawsuit against a hospital or large medical company, for example a pharmaceutical company. In these cases the cards are stacked against the patient. 

Both large hospitals and large pharmaceutical companies, which indeed can have medical malpractice suits filed against them for misrepresenting their medication, have teams of malpractice lawyers. Some of these lawyers are on retainer working for a law firm while in other cases the lawyers may be in-house attorneys already on the payroll of either the hospital or the pharmaceutical company. Therefore, it is usually in the best interest for these large entities to convey to the patient that they will drag any lawsuit out over the course of time. The patient has limited options in choosing an attorney. 

Many medical malpractice lawyers charge steep fees for their services since it is considered a niche market within the legal profession. There can be initial fees, hourly fees afterwards, and payment out of the settlement if the medical malpractice case is one. Do to the statue of limitations this forces a patient to make a quick decision, sometimes when they are not completely informed of the success of the lawsuit or the cost in total. 

This is one reason that some patients, while they know they can eventually win the lawsuit, opt not to make a claim in court because the financial burden that will be incurred trying to win a settlement. In some cases the settlement does not even cover the complete legal fees that go along with a medical malpractice case, creating a lose-lose scenario for the patient. However, the statue of limitations varies from state to state as there are no uniform federal guidelines concerning medical malpractice laws. Some states force the decision on the patient rather quickly, in a manner this reduces the amount of medical malpractice cases in the hopes of driving down medical costs as a whole in a given state.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are expensive and the statute of limitations provides an added constraint on those that are looking to file a claim. While the statute of limitations is necessary so a patient does not bring a claim ten years down the road because of an operation that was performed before, they must decide whether or not, both morally and financially, if a medical malpractice lawsuit is in their best interest.

The Respectable Minority Rule For Malpractice

The Respectable Minority Rule For Malpractice

Within the medical field there are a number of ways to treat diseases and aliments. Some ways happen to be more controversial than others, and in the past, have opened up doctors to malpractice medical lawsuits. However, more recent legislature has sought to protect treatments that doctors can use within their scope of employment, allowing them not to be subjected to frivolous malpractice medical lawsuits.
However, there is a fine balancing act that the court needs to take into account when measuring doctors practices within their scope of employment. Malpractice medical cases are usually defined by the level negligence present. Some treatments can inherently be riskier than others, yet if a doctor can prove he or she is within a respectable minority in the medical profession, than the doctor would most likely not be subjected to malpractice medical lawsuits.
Many treatments that run high risks, and fall into this category, deal with difficult diseases to combat. Advanced stages of cancer and neurological diseases are some of the most complicated illnesses to treat, and have forced some doctors to use innovative treatments.
Through research, they have expanded the scope of employment to their client, at times offering riskier approaches to dominate forms of medical practices. The medical profession as a whole is large, yet these cases are handled by a niche group of doctors, so when there is deviation, the minority group may be very few. Advanced stages of cancer can be combated by very aggressive forms of chemotherapy or gene therapy. Not all are guaranteed to succeed. 
Often at advanced stages of disease, patients are turned away from dominate forms of medicine, and they will seek other alternatives. Therefore the guidelines for negligence in a malpractice medical  lawsuit can be blurred by the patient’s own consent to the doctor giving him or her a wide scope of employment to combat their disease.
The courts will in these cases focus on expert testimony, published articles, and qualitative success rates found nationally and/or globally. In the medical community, informed consent plays a large role in mitigating a medical malpractice lawsuit, yet in these cases the consent can be given to a treatment that goes well beyond any scope of employment for a medical professional. That is why the courts will fall back onto expert testimony.
In the long run some techniques that are used in the respectable minority can one day enter the mainstream, but cutting edge treatments also fringe on malpractice as they take innate risks the dominate medical logic would not deem appropriate. In many cases the burden will be on the doctor to prove that his or her method is acceptable, and the consent given by the patient was, in fact, after they were fully informed. In some cases it is not the person who is ill who makes the medical malpractice claim either, but their family due to the nature of their disease.
Terminally ill patients who opt for riskier methods of treatment may never see the inside of the courtroom, making the proceeding even more complicated as one of the chief parties is no longer present.

The Wrecking Ball of Lost Chance of Survival

The Wrecking Ball of Lost Chance of Survival

Medical malpractice can manifest itself in many forms and doctors can be found negligent in a variety of ways. Wrong death suits are common medical malpractice lawsuits claiming in principle that the patient lost a chance of survival do to doctor error. The medical profession is one profession, out of few, where error is not tolerated do to the legal ramifications let alone causing what can be considered a wrongful death. Survival of the patient in these cases is jeopardized and lost for what usually is a failure to diagnose, but there can be other cases that jeopardize a patients survival that occur in a surgical room.
Failure to diagnosis and wrongful death go hand in hand. Many people forgot that doctors are human, can make mistakes, and interpret an illness incorrectly. Malpractice lawsuits have been on the rise concerning wrongful death as the families of the recently deceased hold the doctor directly account for his or her death. Sometimes the failure to diagnosis a disease is due to negligent behavior by the doctor but other times this may not be the case. Wrongful death lawsuits are settled both in and out of court. Even if the doctor believes he is in the right, making and honest mistake on what can be a confusing illness at times, would up to settle out of court because of the negative stigma that comes with a wrongful death suit. 
The lost chance of survival is also very emotional for the family because in these instances survival could have easily happened if the diagnosis was different, correct. Malpractice lawyers need to argue the distinction, in these cases, between willful negligence and natural human error. Many times the family of the person who lost a chance of survival does not seek the distinction.
The courts d, however, as if every doctor was held accountable for a mistake there would not be many doctors left in the country or would there be people wanting to become doctors because of the greatly increased liability. However, the question of negligence in these cases can be hard to prove directly. The doctor’s medical opinion is actually under question and not a medical physical action that took place. These cases are much easier to define negligence in as there can be physical prove. 
For lost chance of survival cases expert testimony is used by both sides and the referencing of journal as well. This goes to establish whether or not the doctor acted within the reasonable scope of the dominate medical profession. Some illnesses can mask their appearance as lesser problems. One recent example has been the H1N1 virus that spread throughout the country. In some cases it appears as just a common cold while in other cases there is direct noticeable flu like symptoms.
It becomes difficult for doctors encountering the H1N1 virus as there are not many indicators toward the severity of the virus in the patient. The common cold or the flu like symptoms cases both can cause deaths. However, this many not be enough to constitute a wrongful death suit as the doctor worked to the best of his ability to diagnose the case.
Usually wrongful death suits blur the line of proper medical action, what can be defined as good medical opinion, the emotional element from both involved parties, and the need for the courts to attempt to gather facts out of all these variables. It can be difficult at times since not all illnesses are the same or are all doctors top of their class as well. Natural human error can occur just like in any other profession, yet in the medical profession it can jeopardize a life.

Clinical Innovation

Clinical Innovation

The medical profession is an ever adapting field that changes as new procedures and drugs enter the market. The newest line of treatments can be controversial at times, as well as the newest drugs to combat disease. Often, doctors innovate within their own clinic initially, and then publish a report of their findings. In other cases, doctors may use research from a medical journal, and adapt those ideas to their own clinical practice, while revising their clinical practice guidelines. 

In either case, due to change, patients may feel that they have been treated unfairly. Some may feel they have been neglected by their doctor if the change is not clearly reflected in the practice guidelines. If this is the case, then a medical malpractice lawsuit may occur. However, simply because there is innovation taking place at a clinical practice, this does not confer that professional has engaged in malpractice. 

Doctors have always performed a balancing act between their patients and the advancement of medicine. Case in point, historically, clinical practices used leeches as a form of treatment for a myriad of disease. However, medical professionals now know that this practice was highly ineffective, and did little to help the patient in any way. This was common practice, until research disproved the method, and clinical practices followed suit in changing their methods. The research, though, was in itself a form of clinical innovation with the testing of new methodologies that many doctors may have not even believed in during that time. 

If malpractice lawsuits were as prevalent then as they are now, those doctors could easily have found themselves in the courtroom, even though history would prove their contributions vital to the advancement of medicine. The balancing act between doctor and patient has gone back even further. During the time of antiquity, doctors used medicine to treat patients, and at times, their herbal drugs were highly effective. However, many do not consider the clinical innovation that had to take place to reach those highly effective drugs- those doctors used trail and error, at times at the cost of the patient’s life. 

Clinical practices face many of the same basic issues of innovation. Some diseases require a more aggressive approach. For some illnesses, the causes are unknown, so the treatment in many senses, is an estimate of what may work best. A clinical practice’s guidelines will note to many patients, especially at cutting edge treatment facilities, the inherent risk of providing their medical treatment. The outcome may be unknown, either a patient can stay the same (bad outcome), get worse (bad outcome), or get better (good outcome). 

The odds are certainly not in favor of the patient, which makes a doctor’s efforts statistically harder. However, this does not mean clinical practices should avoid innovation, because this would inhibit future medical progress within their respected fields. Guidelines help to facilitate a practice, and inform their patients of how, in total, the office works. By doing this, it does preclude a doctor from a certain level of malpractice.

Yet, if the balancing act is slightly out of line then a malpractice lawsuit may be filed against the practice, even though their guidelines were clearly stated. That does not necessarily mean the malpractice lawsuit will be won. If the doctor fully informed the patient of the risks of the procedure, and was within the scope of reason when executing the procedure, then the case would have a shaky foundation.

Contributory Negligence from Patient

Contributory Negligence from Patient

Medical malpractice lawsuits are usually looked at from the side of the patient because if he or she is bringing the lawsuit then the doctor has performed some form of negligence. However, there are many viable medical mal practice defenses that can be sued in by a lawyer employed by a medical professional or entity to win the case. In some instances winning the case can be defined as limiting the financial and professional damage done to a doctor or hospital. In these cases, however, there is a certain element of negligence that needs to be admitted in open court. Though not all medical malpractice cases need to fall under this category the personal injury of a patient can be his or her own doing.

In cases where the patient can be faulted for personal injury the legal defense is referred to contributory negligence from a patient. When an operation is performed or prescription given there is a level of responsibility that falls onto the patient. There are a number of ways personal injury can occur that would not end up being the faulty of a doctor or hospital. Before any prescription or operation takes place a doctor asks the patient of their medical history. It is the patient’s duty to disclose their full medical history to the medical professionals who are working their case. 

If personal injury occurs because of the patient not fully disclosing their medical history, this would be a clear example of contributory negligence of a patient. The patient would be at fault because the harm done, while the doctor may have been negligent afterwards, initially was set in motion by the lack of information provided to the doctor. 

That is why in many instances doctors emphasis greatly the need for patients to fully disclose their medical history no matter how small an operation or an adverse reaction to a drug may have been. Such instances can have an effect on future treatment and if the doctor does not know how a person’s body has behaved to a certain medication, then he prescribes it in a higher dose causing harm to his or her patient, he would not be found liable in a court of law of being negligent. Another example of contributory negligence from a patient that is readily applied in the courtroom occurs after the operation. Once an operation is complete doctors give a set of rules to their patient expecting, in turn, the patient to follow the orders exactly. 

If personal injury occurs because the patient did not follow the orders exactly, it can even be a slight deviation, it would be considered contributory negligence from a patient. Infractions can be quite small. For example after surgery on the mouth doctors instruct smokers to not have a cigarette for a certain period of time, it depends on the extent of the surgery and doctors discretion. They say this to prevent against infection. If the patient even has one cigarette that would then contribute an infection the patient would be at fault and not the doctor, voiding the medical malpractice lawsuit brought on by the patient.

Medical malpractice lawsuits have two sides to them, while the patients side is usually highlighted the most the doctor’s side is equally important. Patients can easily contribute to their own personal injury by not disclosing their full medical history or not following doctor’s directions. In both cases this would end up being considered contributory negligence from a patient causing the malpractice lawsuit to be thrown out of court.

Good Samaritan Acts

Good Samaritan Acts

There are times when a person is in immediate need of medical attention, and there are no professionals among the first responders. Before the Good Samaritan Act law was passed, the person providing the immediate medical aid could be sued if something went wrong, regardless of the fact he or she was trying to help. Good Samaritan laws help to mitigate these circumstances allowing people to help an injured person immediately without the person in need taking legal recourse afterwards. However, the Good Samaritan Law differs from state to state, creating a wide range of what defines help, and who can actually help while not being held culpable for injuries caused during aid.

In some states the Good Samaritan acts are mandated by law, meaning if a layman does not help he or she can be held accountable for refusing aid. However, this can be as simple as dialing 9-1-1 in order to help a person in need. Vermont is one example where the Good Samaritan Act law is mandated by state legislation, forcing the average citizen to help. Other states limit who can actually perform medical aid to a person in need. Some states allow everyone to help in a given circumstance. Yet, some states only allow medical professionals to give aid. 

For example, a person goes into cardiac arrest in a restaurant. The other people in the restaurant become concerned and desire to help. In states that allow everyone to participate in medical aid, all the person needs to do is convey their medical experience and level of training. If the person is unconscious this is taken as implied consent. In New York, for example, those helping are granted immunity under the Good Samaritan Act law, reinforcing the nature of state specific laws. Yet, going back to the example, in states where laymen are prohibited from helping, only a doctor or nurse who is dining can rush over and give medical assistance. 

Usually because of the medical background, this act of a Good Samaritan will be protected under immunity from legal recourse that the person in need might take afterwards. It is important to know the difference between states, doubly important for medical personal, so that a person can know what acts constitute proper help and what type of acts may open them up to a legal case afterwards. Someone traveling to Vermont, even though a citizen of New jersey, should be aware that given the circumstance they have to dial 9-1-1 to help a person in need unless they want to face prosecution under Vermont law.

In essence good acts should be performed by citizens toward persons in need no matter the given circumstance. These good actions can be as simple as dialing 9-1-1 or as involved as performing CPR for someone who goes into cardiac arrest. However, people should be aware of the different Good Samaritan laws that are present in their states and other states in order to protect themselves from legal recourse. Do to the highly legalized world of the United States even good acts can become opportunities for people to redress through a lawsuit.

Tips For Filing a Medical Malpractice Suit

Tips For Filing a Medical Malpractice Suit

If an individual was injured due to the negligent actions of a doctor, he/she may choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In the event that an individual chooses to initiate a malpractice suit, he/she must do so within a specified period of time. Each state has established unique regulations regarding malpractice suits. 

An attorney can help with this process and subsequently file the paperwork. The offending physician must then be served the complaint and the summons. The court will review the case and determine if the victim should be awarded damages. If an individual fails to file the suit within the specified period, he/she will no longer be permitted to file a claim. 



An individual must collect any evidence of his/her injury, including documentation, medical bills, and photographs. It is possible for an individual to file a medical malpractice lawsuit without the assistance of an attorney; however, it is recommended that he/she consult with an experienced lawyer. He/she must then obtain the necessary paperwork from his/her local courthouse and subsequently complete this paperwork. 

Relieve Your Burdens with a Malpractice Suit

Relieve Your Burdens with a Malpractice Suit

Once you have won a medical malpractice suit you will often feel satisfied or at least relieved of the expected repayment of finances. That being said, you must acknowledge your state’s specific laws regarding medical malpractice cases, because each jurisdiction possesses different rules regarding the delivery of payment and the administrative process once the medical malpractice suit has been finalized. 
Following the verdict, the defense attorney will award permission to ‘poll the jury.’ This maneuver will ask each juror whether their vote was based on their particular intentions or they were persuaded by something involving the arguments in the case. This scenario is simply performed to check the motives of the jurors and to ensure the delivery of an accurate verdict. Once the jury has been polled the papers which fortify the verdict will be put into processing by the judge and the court system. 
During this time, the judge may give the defense attorneys 60 days to review the verdict so they can fight the financial settlement reached or make a request to throw the verdict out. From this motion, the judge and the court system can initiate a number of actions including: an appeal, a reduction of your award, an increase of your award if they believe there was an insufficient amount of funds, they can throw out the case and dismiss your claim, or lastly they can direct a new trial for your claim.