Case Study: Utilizing Consensus Data to Drive the Decision to Settle

The challenge

When a 67-year-old male smoker with a history of diabetes and hypertension required an above-the-knee amputation as the result of an alleged delayed diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease, the Indiana law firm representing him needed help deciding whether to take the case to trial or settle with the defense.

With the attorneys’ initial evaluation showing diabetics suffering from peripheral arterial disease have a high rate of amputations, no matter how prompt the diagnosis and treatment, we set out to make the way forward transparent through the power of data — by utilizing our Survey tool to obtain a consensus view on the extent of liability from the experts best qualified to judge it.

Helping an Indiana law firm harness collective opinion to make the most informed decision

The solution

The Guidepoint Legal Solutions Survey team designed and programmed a questionnaire around two case-guiding queries:

  • What are the most likely treatment options for patients with similar diagnoses?
  • Would earlier intervention have prevented amputation in this scenario?

Next, calling upon the strength of Guidepoint’s Advisor network, the team custom-recruited and vetted a population of 27 vascular surgeons in order to provide consensus through their collective survey responses.

The results

Of the 27 surgeons surveyed, 15 indicated that earlier intervention would have prevented later amputation, inspiring confidence that the plaintiff’s case was sound. But the small margin of consensus suggested that arguing the case at trial might put a favorable verdict at risk — leading the firm to make the ultimate, data-driven decision to settle for a sizable payout.

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