One of the vexing questions that is involved in medical malpractice is what should a doctor do if he or she realizes that a mistake has been made? Obviously part of the reaction is to work to try to correct the mistake or, if it is too late, try to mitigate the circumstances. But the human reaction, which we have been taught to do by our parents, is to apologize and express regret that the mistake has been made. Many health care providers are reluctant to do this for fear that the apology will be considered an admission of guilt that can be used against them in a medical malpractice suit.
The state legislature of Alaska, following a number of other states, has just passed what has been called the “I’m Sorry” bill. The bill, according to the Legal Examiner, would make an apology or an expression of compassion inadmissible in a medical malpractice suit. However such an expression would not be a defense against being sued for malpractice.
An argument has raged between the medical community and the trial bar about what causes medical malpractice litigation. The former maintains that lawsuits are being exacerbated by greedy trial lawyers and the latter counters that medical malpractice is a real problem, killing 225,000 per year.
However there is research that suggests that when a health care provider does offer a sincere apology for a medical mistake, accompanied by efforts to mitigate the damage that resulted, they are less likely to be sued. Thus good manners, especially under an “I’m Sorry” law, can also be good business.
Medical malpractice laws vary from state to state. If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, talk to one of our Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers today to discuss your specific situation and injuries. Contact us here.