The headlines are all the same. I just noticed it.

As soon as information came out that Melissa Rivers had hired a New York City law firm to bring a lawsuit against the endoscopy center and the doctors who cared for her mom, Joan Rivers, the news media went crazy reporting on one key thing that they all got wrong.

Some news headlines indicate that Melissa Rivers will be filing a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the doctors and the endoscopy Center where her mom received her medical care on that tragic day.

You might ask “what's wrong with those headlines?”

The answer is that in New York, when a surviving family member brings a lawsuit seeking compensation for the death of their family member, an attorney is prohibited from indicating, in the initial lawsuit papers, how much money they are suing for.

In a medical malpractice case that results in death, an attorney is prohibited from putting down a number in which they are seeking compensation.

The rationale is that it's ultimately the jury's function to determine how much compensation the family should be given if they have successfully shown that they are more likely right than wrong that the doctors violated the basic standards of medical care that resulted in harm, injury and an untimely death.

Interestingly, after a lawsuit for medical malpractice and wrongful death is started in New York, the defense attorneys will always ask the lawyer who is representing the surviving family how much money they are seeking.

In reply, the family's attorney will indicate a significant amount of money, likely in the multimillion dollar range to put the defense attorneys and the medical malpractice insurance companies on notice of how much the family is seeking in compensation.

You will notice that once the attorneys for Melissa Rivers go ahead and actually file a lawsuit, the news media will be all over it and only a few news outlets will report that the family is suing for “unspecified amount of damages.”

Even though the public is well aware that Joan Rivers was earning quite a lot of money in the twilight of her career, the lawsuit papers will specifically not indicate how much they are suing for.

I wonder whether a press conference will be held after the lawsuit is filed disclosing to the public how much they are seeking compensation.

It is highly likely that many news outlets will speculate about how much money Melissa Rivers is actually trying to obtain, but it is highly unlikely that her attorneys will publicly disclose the amount that they claim the family is entitled to receive.

To learn why Melissa Rivers is unable to start her medical malpractice & wrongful death lawsuit immediately, I encourage you to read this informative article.

To learn even more about how wrongful death lawsuits work here in New York, 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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