You loved your doctor.
You've been going to him for years.
Your family goes to him too.
You put your life in his hands.
You took it.
He said "Have this procedure."
He said "Don't do this activity."
"Doctor's orders!" he'd say.
You never second guessed him.
You did what he recommended.
He should have known better.
He knew you'd have a bad reaction.
He knew there was a significant family history.
He knew there were better alternative treatments.
You trusted him.
You expected him to do right by you.
You're now out of work.
You need a visiting nurse five days a week.
Your kids are disappointed you can't do activities with them.
You can't drive.
You need help to get dressed.
You need assitance to cook.
Your life will never be the same.
You meet a friend who suggests you see a medical malpractice attorney.
You decide to call the attorney.
He meets with you.
He gets your medical records.
He has a medical expert review your records.
He tells you that he'll be starting a lawsuit against your doctor.
A few weeks later he starts your lawsuit.
A month later, your doctor answers your allegations.
Through his attorney of course.
He says "I did nothing wrong!"
"Even if I did something wrong, so did you, Mr. Patient."
Then he claims that even if he did something wrong, NOTHING he did or didn't do caused you any injury.
Then he argues that your injuries are not as bad as you claim them to be.
How could he deny doing this to you?
How could he say that with a straight face?
This is bull!
Your attorney knows it.
Your medical expert knows it.
During your lawsuit your attorney has a chance to question your doctor.
That's a question and answer session known as a deposition.
His answers carry the same weight as if he's testifying at trial in front of a judge and jury.
This pretrial questioning takes place in his lawyer's conference room.
There's no judge there.
There's no jury there.
During this pretrial questioning, your doctor actually admits he violated the basic standards of medical care.
HE ADMITTED IT!
Finally, you feel vindicated.
You feel that now he'll whip out his checkbook and simply ask how much should he put down on that check to you.
"How many zero's would you like in that check?" you're hoping he now asks you.
Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.
While it is true that he admitted he was careless, he's still not taking responsibility for what happened.
You don't understand.
You thought that once he admitted his wrongdoing, your case was over and now he sends you a substantial check and that's the end of your case.
In New York, you have to show that you are more likely right than wrong that what you are claiming is true.
You must show that (1) Your doctor was careless, (2) that his carelessness was a cause of your injury and (3) that your injury is signficant and/or permanent.
By admitting he was careless, your doctor has simply removed the first element you must prove.
You STILL have to prove the second and third parts of your case.
In fact, he specifically argues that nothing he did had anything to do with your injuries.
You are once again frustrated.
You are once again angry.
You are furious that your doctor is playing word games with you and your attorney.
"That should be enough," you argue in your own mind.
Sorry, but that's NOT enough.
Not in the eyes of the law.
Not in New York.
He's admitting he did something wrong.
However, he's not admitting that his wrongdoing caused you injury.
In law, we call that causation or proximate cause.
You must show the link between his wrongdoing and your injury.
That's what your doctor is betting on.
He knows it's futile to argue about what he did.
He knows it was wrong.
He made a poor decision that clearly violated the standard of care.
During his pretrial deposition.
When your attorney confronted him during his pretrial question and answer session.
But after that, he refused to budge.
He refused to admit anything else.
"If only she had listed to me..."
"If only she had taken the medication I prescribed..."
"If only she had the treatment I recommended, then we wouldn't be here today..."
Now you realize you're going to trial.
But, the jury will no longer have to answer the first key question... "Was the doctor negligent?"
That's because the doctor has already admitted he was.
Instead, they'll now focus their energy on whether his carelessness was a cause of your injury.
If the answer is yes, then they will have to answer how much money you are to receive for all the harms, looses and injuries you suffered.