The early offer law became effective in our state on January 1, 2013. This law, which was passed over Governor Lynch’s veto, permits medical providers to make early settlement offers to patients injured by medical negligence that excludes damages that are allowed under the law. For example, if an injured person elects the early offer system, he or she would give up the right to be compensated for pain and suffering, emotional distress and lost earning capacity; that person’s spouse would give up the right to make a claim for lost services, support and companionship. The early offer law also requires that the injured patient submit future medical expenses when they are due and the injured patient is then at the mercy of the provider for payment of these expenses.
The early offer law includes a waiver of rights form. This waiver may have been included in administrative paperwork signed by the patient and the patient may not even realize he or she has opted in to the system. A patient considering whether to opt in must be cautious because if one opts in and does not accept the settlement offer, his or her trial rights will be adversely affected.
The law requires that the medical provider obtain legal counsel for the injured person at the provider’s expense. Again, caution is advised because the attorney has limited responsibilities.
Our attorneys are knowledgeable about medical malpractice cases and the early offer law. There is no charge for an initial consultation.
McDowell and Osburn, PA 603-623-9300