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During cross examination I ask the doctor whom you have sued “Doctor, isn't it true you were sued by 10 other patients before?” Is that a proper question?

It's a medical malpractice trial.

You believe your doctor was careless.

You believe your doctor caused you significant and permanent injury.

Our medical experts confirm that your doctor violated the basic standards of medical care.

Our medical experts confirm that your doctor's carelessness was a cause of your injury.

Our medical experts confirm that your injuries are significant and permanent.

During the course of your lawsuit, I do my research and learn that this doctor has been sued 10 times in the past.

I learn that 10 other patients sued him for medical malpractice.

However, only one of those cases have been resolved.

Nine other cases are still active and ongoing.

When I tell my client that her doctor was sued 10 times in the past few years, she uses that information to confirm her belief that her doctor is a bad doctor.

She urges and encourages me to expose this doctor at trial.

She wants me to use this information during cross-examination as evidence that this doctor lacks a basic knowledge of medicine.

She desperately uses this information to validate her own case, in her own mind.

Can I use this information at trial?

Can I use this information to cross examine this physician?

Is it prejudicial?

Here's the reality...

The mere fact that a doctor has been sued is not evidence of anything.

It merely shows that a patient has brought a lawsuit seeking compensation for the harms and injuries they believe he caused because of his carelessness.

As the defense is often quick to point out, these are simply allegations that have yet to be proven at trial.

Even though I rarely like to agree with a defense argument, this one happens to be true.

If the doctor has been sued, and the case is active and in litigation, that means it has not gone to a jury trial and there has been no jury verdict. That means that the appeals process has not yet been exhausted.

That means that there is no finality yet to that particular case about whether the patient is correct or whether the doctor treated the patient appropriately.

Only after a jury has reached a verdict and after the doctor has exhausted all of his appeals, can I use that information during cross-examination at trial.

The mere fact that a doctor has been sued multiple times is not evidence of carelessness.

But maybe I can use this information in a different way...

When I learn that your doctor has been sued many times, it gives me a few strategies on how to approach the doctor's insurance company if and when we begin settlement negotiations.

If I were to use these pending lawsuits during cross-examination to show the jury that because your doctor has been sued many times before, it automatically means that he did something wrong in our case, the defense attorney would have every right to jump up and object to this question.

The judge would also explain to the jury that this question is an appropriate and direct me not to ask such a question and direct the doctor not to answer it.

To learn even more about this topic, I invite you to watch the quick video below...