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If You Win Your Medical Malpractice Trial, Will Doctor Pull Out His Checkbook and Immediately Write You a Check for Five Million Dollars?

IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY!

Ah, no. That's not how it works. That's not how any of it works. The doctor whom you sued is not going to accept the jury verdict. He's not going to accept their decision as the final answer to the question of whether he's legally responsible to pay for your injuries.

Maybe he'll say "It's fake news."
Maybe he'll say there wasn't sufficient evidence for them to reach this outrageous verdict.
Maybe he'll argue that the judge allowed the jury to hear certain testimony that they should not have heard.

Maybe he'll argue that the jury should not have seen certain documents.
Maybe he'll claim that the fix was in before the trial even started.
Who knows? Maybe he'll argue that the jury was out to get him because he's wealthy.

Whatever he argues, he's most assuredly NOT going to whip out his checkbook and write you a check for what the jury determined you are legally entitled to receive. Whether that's five million or ten million or one million dollars.

DOCTOR DOESN'T WHIP OUT HIS CHECKBOOK

Instead, his attorney is going to do a few things immediately after the verdict is read out loud in open court. His lawyer will ask for the jury to be 'polled'. That means that he wants the judge to ask each juror individually whether this is their verdict. He wants confirmation that each juror has agreed with the actual verdict just read out loud.

Once the jurors acknowledge that this is their verdict, the judge will thank the jurors and dismiss them from jury duty.

The defense lawyer will then jump up and ask the judge to act on this verdict. He'll ask the judge to dismiss the verdict as being against the weight of the evidence. Alternatively, he'll ask the judge to dismiss your entire case. If that doesn't work, he'll ask the judge to reduce the amount of money you are to receive.

No matter what decision the trial judge reaches, the doctor's attorney will appeal.
He'll take the issue to a higher court.
In New York, that would be the Appellate Division of the State of New York.

Depending on which county this case was tried, that will determine which Appellate Court will hear the appeal.

An appeal can take one to two years to finish. During this time, the doctor whom you sued is NOT writing you a check for what the jury said you are legally entitled to receive from him. Instead, he wants to wait for a final decision before paying you a dime. He wants to wait until all appeals have been exhausted and now there's no place else for him to go.

On appeal, the doctor's attorney argues the same things...

He'll ask the appellate court to dismiss your case entirely. Then, as an alternative, he'll ask that the verdict be thrown out and sent back for a new trial. After that, he'll argue that there should be a new trial to determine how much money you are to receive. As another alternative, he'll claim that your verdict is way too high and not consistent with the evidence and not consitent with other similar cases.

Only after the appeals court has reached a final decision and there is no other option, the doctor may have no choice but to pay. It may not be the amount the jury decided you should receive. It might be less. It might be more. It might be the same. There's no way to know until the very end.

By the way, during your appeal, the defense can try to negotiate and settle your case. If both sides reach an agreement, then the doctor's insurance company will then whip out their checkbook and write you and your attorney a check for the agreed-upon amount.

To learn more about how this process works, I invite you to watch the video below...


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer