Friday, February 28, 2014

Good Medicine for Medical Malpractice Claims

From the blog of a medical malpractice defense firm, four common things that can strengthen a defense:

1. Documentation, Documentation, Documentation: Testimony of recollections and how things are normally done can be considered as evidence, she says. “They are much more effective, however, when they’re backed up with documentation in the medical record.”

2. Use of Plain Language: “Doctors who communicate the rationale for their decisions in clear concise language are in a much better position to defend those decisions later, and their decisions are less likely to be questioned in the first place,” Christian writes.

3. Educated Office Staff: Christian says malpractice cases often involve communication by office staff to people calling for appointments or refills, canceling appointments or sharing concerns during office visits, so it’s key that the staff understands documentation and communication procedures.

4. Intelligent, Caring Physicians: “Jurors want to know that the doctor had the patient’s best interest in mind and used his or her best judgement to make a rational decision,” she says.

This is all true in my experience as well. Yes doctors who follow these rules or make a jury believe they did, will do better when sued for malpractice. Keep in mind that these are the same impressions that a lawyer will try to convey to a jury in a legal malpractice claim against the lawyer. All of this can be true and the lawyer may still be responsible for legal malpractice. All of these can be true and a jury could and should find against the doctor or the lawyer if that doctor or lawyer committed malpractice which resulted in damage to the patient or client.

We sue doctors. We sue lawyers. We sue accountants. We sue all professionals. But only if they breached the standard of care (committed malpractice) which resulted in serious injury. Call us if you have questions.

Read more:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Client Information is Privileged

Lawyers simply are forbidden from sharing stories about their clients. No bragging about who they represent. No jokes about who they represent. No describing in detail the case that was so interesting. Unless, of course, they have permission of the client.  If the client says it is ok, then it is ok.

Even if the client information is not privileged, the lawyer can't share it. Privileged information is the secret you tell your lawyer - "I really did kill that guy and I hid the murder weapon in the woods". That is a privileged statement and the lawyer obviously can't tell anyone.

Here is the less obvious secret, or not so secret information, that the lawyer can't blab about. In Connecticut, secret or not, if someone has filed for a divorce it is public information. But a lawyer who represents a client in a divorce shouldn't go telling people. Why? Because confidential information, or information that a client may reasonably want to be held in confidence, is still protected.  Even if it is not a privilege, even if it is not a secret, the lawyer should not talk about it without permission of the client.  There are of course exceptions and other rules that apply so speak to a lawyer if you think your lawyer has blabbed when he or she should have kept quiet. 

Bottom line is expect your lawyer to respect your privacy even if the information is not privileged.