You trusted your doctor.
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.
He said "Take this medication."
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.
You suffered terrible complications.
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.
But you listened to him.
You trusted him.
You expected him to do right by you.
You're now out of work.
You can barely get around your house now.
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 help to bathe.
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 never considered doing that until this person mentioned it.
You decide to call the attorney.
He meets with you.
He gets your medical records.
He has a medical expert review your records.
After a few months, he tells you that you have a valid case.
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 "This is BOGUS! Why are you suing me?"
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.
When your lawyer tells you this, you're furious.
How could he deny doing this to you?
How could he say that with a straight face?
This is bull!
You know it.
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.
Your doctor will swear to tell the truth.
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.
But, there is a court reporter there to record all of the questions being asked and all of his answers.
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 you were right all along.
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're thrown for a loop.
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.
You see, he only admitted the first element needed to prove 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 this example, your doctor does NOT admit and does NOT recognize that what he did caused or contributed to your injuries.
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.
You're furious that the law requires you to show all three of those things and your doctor has admitted to the first one...being careless.
"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.
Your doctor is doing something that will help HIM.
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.
If you can't show it, then your case is over.
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.
He owned up to when he was forced to.
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.
He also accused YOU of contributing to your own injuries!
"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.
A jury will have to decide if you're more likely right than wrong.
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.