Do you have a say in your settlement decisions?

August 1, 2007

That depends on your insurer. While most states give medical malpractice insurers the option to allow you to veto a decision to settle a claim, not all of them include this consent-to-settle clause in their policies, according to American Medical News (6/25/2007). Moreover, insurers who do include these provisions may also tack on a "hammer clause." This means that, if you reject the recommended settlement decision, you will be responsible for any excess judgment or settlement beyond the insurer's original offer.

That depends on your insurer. While most states give medical malpractice insurers the option to allow you to veto a decision to settle a claim, not all of them include this consent-to-settle clause in their policies, according to American Medical News (6/25/2007). Moreover, insurers who do include these provisions may also tack on a "hammer clause." This means that, if you reject the recommended settlement decision, you will be responsible for any excess judgment or settlement beyond the insurer's original offer.

Be aware that insurers are legally required to work in your best interests. Still, it's a good idea to review your insurance policy thoroughly. Before signing a medical malpractice policy, check to see if there is a consent-to-settle clause or if the insurer can settle a claim without your consent; see if there's a hammer clause; and review the insurer's record of cases that go to trial versus those that are settled. After signing the policy: