Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

The Unusual Challenges of Medical Negligence Mediation

October 2019 Bar Bulletin

By Gregg Bertram 

Some of what follows may be controversial. However, this writer’s views have been formed by having mediated more than 700 such cases during the past 25-plus years. While nearly all of these efforts have resulted in settlement, few have resolved without some of the challenges discussed below.

First, Washington RCW § 7.7.100 requires mandatory mediation of health care claims, including those asserting medical negligence. Notwithstanding this statutory mandate, mediation is, among other things, a process allowing party self-determination.

Ordering parties to mediation does not mean that they are also required to settle. Individual physician defendants typically have a contractual right to refuse to...

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