Many community members are familiar with the basics of a negligence lawsuit, including those connected to medical malpractice. In most cases, after suffering an injury, the party initiates the suit by filing a “complaint” that lays out their legal arguments. That begins the long process of each side collecting evidence to be used in a possible trial. This includes conducting depositions, going through paperwork, and more. At some point the parties may engage in settlement negotiations. A settlement might be reached which may end the formal matter. If no agreement is reached, then the case may go to trial with a final decision from a judge or jury.
But does that end it? Not quite.
That is because one little understood part of the process is the work required to actually collect the award or settlement amount. For one thing, other parties may claim to have a stake in that amount. In medical malpractice cases, among others, that includes Medicare and Medicaid, if those programs provided care for the injured party.