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"Let's THREATEN to Sue the Doctor! His Insurance Company is Sure to Pay. I Just Know It!" You Exclaim to Your Lawyer. Is That Really What Will Happen?

Actually, no, that's not what's going to happen.

The insurance company will ignore you and your threatening letter.
Your doctor will ignore you and your letter.
Your lawyer will have lost all credibility with the insurance company.

That's really what's going to happen...and more.

Let's start at the beginning.

You believe your doctor was careless causing you harm and injury.
Your doctor refuses to accept responsibility for his actions.
He claims he did nothing wrong.

You're upset.
No...you're furious.
You know in your heart of hearts that your doctor screwed up.

He didn't intend to screw up.
It's just that on a particular day at a particular time, he was careless.
Because of that wrongdoing, you now have to live with your injuries for the rest of your life.

You want him to pay.
You want him to compensate you for your injuries.
For all the pain and the suffering you've already endured and are likely to encounter in the future.

You know these medical malpractice cases take 2-3 years to resolve.
You don't really want to go through the litigation process.
You don't really want to sue your doctor.

He's been your doctor for years and years.
You loved him...up till you were injured.
You just don't have it in you to go forward with a lawsuit against him.

You get it in your head that there's another way.
There's another way to get money from the doctor and his insurance company that will avoid you having to bring a lawsuit and go to trial.
How?

By sending your doctor and his insurance company a letter.
A letter that THREATENS a lawsuit.
A letter that DEMANDS they settle this matter with you, or else...

You've heard some lawyers do this in accident cases.
They send off a letter to your car accident insurance company demanding they settle your case.
Otherwise, they're going to start a lawsuit on your behalf.

You've heard this tactic works.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but in New York in cases involving improper medical care by a doctor, THIS TACTIC DOES NOT WORK.
At all.
The doctor will throw your letter in the garbage.

Actually, he'll first make a copy of it to send to his insurance company, then throw your letter away.
When his insurance company gets your threatening letter, they will ignore it and then laugh behind your back.
They'd like to throw it away, but instead, they'll file it away to use against you and your attorney should you ever actually carry through on your threat to sue.

If you DON'T SUE, they may just use your letter to file a grievance against your lawyer for THREATENING to sue and never following through with the threat. In NY, that would be an ethical violation that would get your attorney in hot water with the greivance committee.

It's admirable that you don't want to go through the lawsuit process.
It's admirable that you don't want to drag your doctor through the lawsuit process too.
But if you threaten to sue and don't actually do it, then your threat is empty and is hollow.

You lack credibility at that point.
You lack the goods.
You likely lack a medical expert who confirms you have a valid case.

You see, in New York, in order to bring a medical malpractice case against your doctor or hospital staff we are REQUIRED to have a qualified medical expert confirm that you have a valid case.

Our expert must evaluate all of your medical records to determine: 

  1. Whether your doctor violated the basic standards of medical care
  2. Whether that wrongdoing was a cause of your injury and
  3. Whether your injury is significant and/or permanent

All of those things MUST be confirmed by your expert before you are permitted to file a lawsuit.

The PROPER way to approach the doctors' insurance company is to fully investigate and evaluate your case first.
That means hiring a well-qualified, board-certified, medical expert.
Assuming that your expert confirms you have a good case, then and only then do we approach the doctors' insurance company.

How?

We send a letter to the doctor and his insurance company.
In the letter we explain how you were injured by the doctor.
We explain that we obtained all your records and had them vetted by an excellent medical expert who confirms you have a valid case.

Then, we enclose copies of all your medical records with the letter.
At this point we invite the insurance company to review your records and to have them evaluated by their own medical expert.
We also provide a detailed summary of our experts' opinions and conclusions.

This is like a preemptive strike but backed up with the goods.
Instead of a threat, we invite them to participate in negotiations with us.
The insurace company sees that we've done our homework.

They see we already have confirmation from an expert who supports your claims.
I never have to threaten anything.
They know what we're going to do if they're not willing to enter into negotiations and resolve your case before filing suit.

This is the professional way.
This way I maintain my credibility.
I also give the insurance company an opportunity to evaluate the same records that our expert reviewed.

But keep in mind this process takes time.
It takes time to get all your medical records.
It takes time for our expert to evaluate your records.

Then, it takes time to forward the records to the doctors' insurance company.
It takes time for the insurance company to have the records evaluated, assuming they're interested in doing so.
If they're interested in negotiating, that too takes time.

This is not a quick-fix but it's the proper way to handle your matter.
Contrary to your desire to have your lawyer send a letter that day and expect the insurance company to resolve your case within a few days.
It just doesn't happen that way.

To learn a few different settlement and negotiation strategies, I invite you to watch the video series below...

 

 


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer