When a doctor is sued in a medical malpractice lawsuit here in New York, his attorney will often raise certain defenses.

The most common defenses are

  • “I didn't do it,”
  • “If I did it, you are also at fault,”
  • “If I did it, your injuries could not be worth as much as you claim they are.”

But there are some instances where a doctor who has never been sued before will try and use that fact to show that he is a good doctor.

Is the fact that a physician has never been sued before directly related to the fact that he is a “good doctor?” 

Let me give you a good analogy... Let's say a driver is trying to beat a red light ticket by claiming that all the other times he obeyed a red light.

Does his past history of obeying the light in the last five years mean that he did not go through a red light in this instance?

The answer is "No."

Likewise, a doctor who has never been sued before cannot use that as a defense at trial to show that he's a good and caring doctor. There might be many reasons why an injured victim may have chosen not to bring a lawsuit against the physician. Likewise, simply because an injured victim brings a lawsuit against a physician does not necessarily mean that he is legally responsible for that person's injuries.

In New York, if an injured victim believes that they suffered injuries as a result of the doctor's carelessness, they have a legal right to bring a lawsuit seeking compensation for all the harms and losses that they suffered. In addition, a victim of medical malpractice is required to get a medical expert to review all of the records who confirms that there were violations from the standards of medical care and that those violations were a cause of your significant injuries.

Only then are we permitted to go ahead and file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Just because a doctor has gone through his career and never been sued by a patient, is not evidence of the fact that he was not careless on a particular date at a particular time in your particular case.

You know why the doctor and his attorney would try and raise this defense, don't you?

They would love to raise the argument that “Look at this good guy. He does such good work for people in the community. He has never been sued.”

The implication being that because no one has filed a lawsuit against him in the past, that somehow is related to what was done in your particular case.

The fact is that it's not related.

You can be mother Theresa and be the best doctor around, but there are instances where even the best, most qualified physicians have been careless and violated the basic standards of medical care in specific instances. Whether or not a patient files lawsuit or even recognizes that there was wrongdoing done is an entirely different matter.

To learn why I would NEVER ask open ended questions at trial, I invite you to watch the video below...

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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