The answer is no, he won't.
You sued your doctor.
For causing you permanent harm.
All because he was careless.
He refused to accept he did anything wrong.
He refused to accept any responsibility.
You knew deep down you were right.
You knew deep down your doctor was negligent.
Bottom line...you knew he screwed up.
He wouldn't even say "I'm sorry."
That got you mad.
That made you furious.
At least man-up and take responsibility for your actions.
You had to sue him.
To get compensated for all those injuries you suffered.
For being unable to work.
For all that pain.
For all the medical care and treatment you need to correct the problem.
For all that you can't do in the future.
Your doctor said "I did nothing wrong, go away."
He also said "If I did something wrong, it didn't cause you injury."
He then said "If I did something wrong causing you harm, you also contributed to your injuries."
Then, to make matters worse he says "Even if I did something carelessly and caused you harm, your injuries are not that bad."
How does that make you feel?
I know how it makes you feel.
It makes you angry.
It makes you frustrated.
It's not right.
You have no choice but to continue with your medical malpractice lawsuit.
After two years of hard-fought litigation your case finally comes up for trial.
Two long weeks of trial are exhausting.
It's an emotional roller-coaster.
Some days you're on top of the world listening to favorable testimony.
Other days you feel as if you're losing big time.
Everything in court is a constant battle.
A battle over evidence.
A battle over testimony.
A battle over the way questions are worded.
A battle over what the attorneys can say during closing arguments.
A battle over someone saying hello to a juror.
Every little thing is a battle.
You win some battles.
You lose others.
You try to read the jury.
But they sit sone-faced.
They rarely look at you.
They're more interested in the theatrics in the courtroom.
They look like they want more excitement and drama.
You want to shout "THIS ISN'T A DAMN REALITY SHOW!"
You want it to be over.
It's close to the finish line, but you're not there yet.
The doctor and his insurance company have refused to offer a dime to settle your case.
Your doctor refuses to negotiate.
Your lawyer tells you that the jury will have to decide your fate.
The jury will have to decide whether you are slightly more likely right than wrong that your doctor was careless.
The jury will have to decide if his wrongdoing caused you harm.
If the answers are yes and yes, then the jury will have to decide how much money you'll receive as full and fair compensation for your injuries.
The waiting is awful.
The lawyers finally give their closing arguments.
The judge then locks the courtroom door and begins to explain the law to the jury.
The judge tells the jury they must answer a series of questions in a very particular order.
The answers to those questions will make up their verdict.
The first question is whether your doctor was professionally careless.
That's another way of saying "Was the doctor negligent?"
If yes, the jury must then determine if your doctors' negligence was a cause of your injury.
In law, we call that proximate cause.
The question usually reads "Was the doctors' negligence a proximate cause of your injury."
All that really means is, is there a connection between the doctors' wrongdoing and your injury?
If yes, the jury will then have to evaluate how much money you are to receive for each element of damages that you're claiming.
Once the jury has finished answering all of those questions, they will report back to the judge that they have reached their verdict.
Now, let's get back to the title of this article.
If the jury decides the case in your favor, will the doctor have to take out his checkbook and pay you immediately?
The answer is no, he won't.
Immediately after the jury returns with a verdict in your favor, the defense lawyer will jump up out of his chair and ask the judge to throw out your verdict.
"Judge! I ask that you throw out the verdict as being against the weight of the evidence," the losing attorney says boldly.
In most cases, the judge will disagree and say "Denied. The verdict stands. If you have a problem with the verdict, you can appeal."
Alternatively, the judge might not make an immediate decision.
Instead, he might give the defense lawyer time to review the trial transcript and to submit written papers justifying why the verdict was inappropriate. In that instance, he might allow a month or two to receive a formal written request to dismiss the verdict. Then, he will give your lawyer time to respond.
Then, the judge will take the time to evaluate the written papers, do legal research and reach a decision.
Assuming the judge leaves the verdict as is, the losing attorney now has the option of appealing the jury verdict.
In New York an appeal can take anywhere from one to two years.
The appeals court could reach many different outcomes including:
- Throwing out the verdict and dismissing your case,
- Throwing out part of your verdict and demanding a new trial on those issues.
- Leaving the verdict as is.
- Increasing the verdict.
- Reducing the verdict.
The verdict does not become final until all appeals have been exhausted and your case reaches a conclusion.
Even then, if you are ultimately successful in obtaining money as a form of compensation, the doctor will not be asked to pay out of his own pocket. He will most likely have medical malpractice insurance and the money you receive will likely come from that source, up to the limits of his insurance policy.