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"How much are you suing for?” Your neighbor asks



You could always tell your neighbor off when answering this question.

However, the better answer would be that in a New York medical malpractice lawsuit, we are not permitted to put a number down to reflect how much we are actually suing for. That's the law.

Why then are there so many lawsuits we read about that do disclose how much the person is suing for?

The reason is because those cases involved negligence, accident or wrongful death cases. In those types of lawsuits we are required to put down a number that we are suing for.

However, keep in mind that that number is a fiction.

It has no real representation to what the actual injuries or damages are in a particular case.

For example, in a car accident case involving a fractured leg, an attorney will typically put down that they are suing for many millions of dollars. $2 million, $5 million, $10 million or more. The reality is that it has absolutely nothing to do with what the case is actually worth.

If for example you claimed that your injuries were only worth $100,000 and a jury came back and decided to award you $1 million, the maximum you would be allowed to recover would be what you originally thought, which was $100,000. That is why all of these numbers are so overinflated and have no real relation to what the true injuries are and what the value of your case is.

In a medical malpractice case here in New York, the rationale behind not requiring this type of demand is that ultimately, when your case goes to trial, a jury will be the one to decide what is the true value of your case.

The next time your neighbor asks you how much you are suing for, let them know that in a malpractice case we are not permitted to put down a number. Let them also know, if it is an accident case, that the number you sue for really is meaningless and has no bearing on the outcome of your case.