You loved your doctor.

He was the BEST!

You treated with him for many years.

All without any problem.

You trusted him.

You put your life in his hands.

You referred friends and family to him.

He could do no wrong by you.

Except for now.

Now you're in excruciating pain.

Now you're unable to work.

Now you're wondering if you'll walk again.

Now you're trying to figure out how to do your basic daily activities.

You confronted your doctor.

In follow up visits.

In the hospital and in his office.

He apologized.

He said he was sorry.

He felt bad for what happened.

At first, he refused to take any responsibility for his actions.

Then you got angrier and angrier.

Then you confronted him again.

He finally acknowledged his actions caused your injury.

He said this to you in his office.

With the door closed.

No one else was present.

You didn't record it.

But you know he said it.

It was crystal clear.

Your doctor again apologized.

Then he volunteered to pay for your damages.

He promised to pay you $10,000 now and $25,000 next year.

It sounded good to you.

You didn't expect this.

You weren't really looking for money.

You just wanted him to apologize for his actions.

You just wanted him to acknowledge what he did was wrong.

That's it.

You agreed to his offer.

Before your doctor will write a check, he needs you to sign this document.

"It's just a formality," he says.

Your doctor conveniently pulls out a document for you to sign.

It's a 'waiver'.

It says that by agreeing to sign this document you give up your right to sue him.

You give up this right in exchange for his promise to pay you $10,000 now and $25,000 next year.

"Let's not get any lawyers involved," he says in a quiet whisper as he leans in and gives you a pen to sign on the dotted line.

You sign.

Then you thank him for being so generous.

He walks you out and you go home feeling good.

It's been a long time since you felt this good.

Days go by without any word from your doctor.

Weeks go by.

Nothing from your doctor.

No check in the mail.

You call his office to find out when you'll get your payment.

You leave a message.

No reply.

Days go by.

Weeks go by.

You call again.

You leave another message.

"This is important," you tell the receptionist.

She promises to give him the message.

Days turn into weeks.

Weeks turn into months.

No reply.

You make a follow up appointment with your doctor.

You're getting fed up.

You feel he's ignoring you.

You can't get an appointment.

He's all booked up.

For the next four months.

The receptionist tells you he has no appointment for the next four months.

How could that be?

Finally, you decide to go into his office without an appointment.


You're going to demand to see him.

He'll have to see you.

If not, you'll make a big stink in the waiting room.

You drive over to his office.

It's fifteen minutes from your home.

You walk into a packed waiting room.

You march right up to the receptionist.

You give her your name and tell her you need to see the doctor immediately.

"It's an emergency."

She checks her computer and says "The doctor is totally booked today and cannot see any emergencies. You should go to the emergency room if this is an emergency. If you can't get there, I'll call a taxi for you or if you're that sick I'll call an ambulance. What would you like me to do?"

"No, I don't have a medical emergency! I have to speak to him right away," you say with your voice rising.

Your body is tensing up.

Your stress level is rising.

You feel your blood beginning to boil.

"In that case, I'll let the doctor know you're here, but in all likelihood, you're going to have to wait till he finishes seeing all his patients for the day."

What you don't know, is that the doctor has instructed his staff that if you are to come in or call, he's always busy.

He is ignoring you.

He wants nothing to do with you.

The receptionist pretends to go in the back.

She comes out a few minutes later.

“The doctor is extremely busy and is unable to see you today.”

You realize you're not going to get very far.

You don't want to stalk him.

Nor do you want to wait in the parking lot for him to come out and accost him.

Instead, you decide to write him a harsh letter.

A demanding letter.

A letter that basically says “What the heck?”

You draft your letter.

You reiterate your agreement.

You reiterate his promise to pay you.

You remind him it has now been months.

What you don't realize is that your time to start a lawsuit against him is ticking.

Two pages of well-written details demanding payment.

You sign it.

You're happy you put your thoughts on paper.

You fold it up carefully, put it in an envelope and write out the address.

You put a stamp on it.

You drop it in the mail the next day.

You expect a response.

You expect him to reply.

That would be courteous.

You expect him to call you.

You envision him knocking at your door handing you your check.

Doesn't happen.

Days go by.

Weeks go by.


No call.

No letter.

No check.

This does nothing but infuriate you.

You have no doubt that your doctor is ignoring you.

The final straw has been broken.

You have lost your patience.

You realize you need to find an attorney.

You need help.

You want to enforce the agreement that you signed.

You talk to five excellent attorneys.

None want to take your case.

You call another five attorneys.

The amount of money you are trying to recoup is minimal.

None of them want to get involved.

While talking to one attorney in his office, he begins to ask you questions about the events that led up to this 'agreement'. 

The more questions he asks the more he thinks your doctor deviated from good and accepted medical practice.

He gets the feeling that your doctor caused you harm.

He can also see that your injuries are significant.

Your attorney does not know the details contained in the agreement you signed.

Your attorney tells you that he's going to investigate your matter.

He wants to get your medical records.

He wants to start looking into whether you have a valid medical malpractice case.

That means he's going to obtain all of your medical records at his expense.

That could take weeks and months.

Then he's going to have a qualified medical expert review all of your records.

Of course, he's also going to review all of your records, page by page.

You agree to do this.

A few weeks later, your attorney calls you to ask you some questions.

He lets you know that he obtained your doctor's medical records.

They are very interesting.

But they tell only half the story.

Even more interesting is that the agreement that you made with the doctor is not in your medical record.

You tell your attorney that you are 100% certain that you signed a document called a “waiver.”

Your attorney questions your memory but accepts it as true for now.

He also tells you that if you signed a waiver, you may be unable to bring a lawsuit unless there are certain things in that document that violate public policy.

That may make the document void.

Also, if your doctor failed to live up to his agreement, that may also void the document.

That would allow you to proceed forward with a lawsuit...assuming of course you have a valid case.

So here's what happens next...

Your attorney sends all of your medical records to a board-certified expert for review.

A few weeks later your attorney calls you to let you know that his expert has confirmed you have a valid case.

You're thrilled.

However, you have some guilt.

You never intended to sue your doctor.

You never sued anyone in your life.

Filing a lawsuit is not in your blood.

It's just not something you or anyone in your family has done before.

However, your doctor has clearly ignored you.

He's clearly breached his promise to you.

He's clearly violated your trust.

You cannot return to him as a patient.

That trusting relationship between doctor and patient is gone.

You are not doing this out of malice.

You're doing this to obtain compensation for all the harms, losses and damages you suffered because he was careless.

Your attorney tells you that he's going to be filing a lawsuit in the next few days.

After he files your lawsuit, he will deliver the lawsuit papers to the doctor.

He'll do this using a someone called a 'process server'.

A process server takes the lawsuit papers that have been filed and delivers them to the people you sued.

There are specific ways those lawsuit papers must be delivered.

Ideally, we want to hand deliver them to the doctor.

If we are unable to personally deliver those papers to the doctor, there are different methods to deliver to him.

One way is to leave it with someone authorized to accept legal papers on his behalf.

That might be his secretary.

That might be his lawyer.

Your attorney also tells you that because you're time to file your lawsuit is running out, you must do this immediately.

If he waits another few months, your time to file your lawsuit will be gone forever.

You start dreaming about the doctor's expression as he gets your lawsuit.

You envision the shock on his face as he is handed papers by your process server.

You hope he gets the shock of his life when he sees you are suing him.

A month later your attorney calls you to let you know that the attorney for the doctor has replied to the allegations in your lawsuit.

Naturally, they deny everything in your lawsuit.

Here are four defenses that a doctor will usually raise when a patient brings a lawsuit against him.

  1. I did nothing wrong.

  2. If I did something wrong, so did you.

  3. If I did something wrong, then whatever I did it not cause your injury.

  4. If I did something wrong and caused you harm, your injury really is not as bad as you claim it to be.

Now that you have started your lawsuit, your attorney begins to ask for lots of documents.

He sends a letter to the defense lawyer DEMANDING certain documents.

He asks for copies of your medical records.

He asks for a copy of the waiver that you signed in his office.

He asks for billing records.

Shortly after, the defense attorney asks for copies of medical records and permission slips from YOUR lawyer.

He wants permission to obtain copies of ALL your medical records from ALL of your treating doctors and hospitals for the past three years.

He wants copies of whatever medical records your lawyer has in his file.

You should know that each attorney must comply with these requests.

They are proper.

Here's why...

You put your medical condition in issue.

The defense has a right to learn about your medical care and treatment.

Even if took place years before you saw the doctor whom you are suing.

These permission slips are known legally as “authorizations.”

They will allow the defense lawyer do get copies of your medical records directly from your doctors.

Soon after, your lawyer calls you to give you bad news.

He tells you the defense lawyer asked the judge to dismiss your lawsuit.

"WHAT??? HOW COULD THAT BE?" You ask your lawyer in a frenzy.

He tells you it's all about the waiver you signed.

In the doctor's office.

The one where he quietly whispered this was a way to avoid getting any attorneys involved.

The defense lawyer argues you gave up your right to sue your doctor.

There might be good news though.

Your doctor failed to live up to his side of the agreement.

Hopefully, that will void this agreement.

In other words, your doctor never paid you what he promised to pay you.

Let's go back for a moment to when you signed this waiver.

The document said that you agree to give up your right to bring a lawsuit against your doctor.

In exchange, the doctor agrees to pay you $10,000 now and $25,000 next year.

The problem is that your doctor never paid you a dime.

Now he is trying to enforce that document.

Your attorney will argue that because your doctor did not make any payment, the agreement is not effective and cannot be enforced.

If your doctor has failed to live up to his side of the bargain, the judge could certainly say that the waiver cannot be enforced.

On the other hand, if the defense attorney were smart, he would have attempted to have a $10,000 check delivered to you personally and have the doctor backdate it to the date you signed that waiver.

That would certainly throw a monkey wrench into the mix and create a dilemma for the judge.

A confusing situation, isn't it?

That's why you NEVER sign such a WAIVER without advice of counsel.

Doing so can significantly impair your ability to bring a lawsuit against your physician.

To learn why an attorney would ask you to get your own medical records, I invite you watch the quick video below...



Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer