Physician admissions of guilt in medical malpractice litigation

Last time, we mentioned that Michigan is among a group of state that have passed measures to protect physicians from having their apologies used against them in medical malpractice litigation. In this post, we wanted to say a bit more about this law and how it can affect an injured patient’s ability to build a strong case for negligence.

The core protection of the law is that certain types of physician communications to a patient are not admissible in order to prove liability. Specifically, the following types of communication are, under the law, not considered admissions of liability: statements, writings, or actions made to a patient or his or her family which express sympathy, compassion, commiseration, or benevolence regarding the patient’s pain, suffer, or death. 

In practice, this protection covers a great deal of the communications physicians make on a regular basis in their work. Protecting physicians from having these types of communications used against them is supposed to help ensure physicians can bring a human touch to their work without fear of reprisal.

The law does not protect other types of communications that are sometimes made by physicians though. Specifically, statements of fault, negligence, or culpable conduct which are part of or in addition to protected communications may be admissible for proving liability.

For this reason carefully distinguishing between expressions of sympathy and compassion and statements of fault or negligence is critical in building a strong medical malpractice case. Physicians are not ordinarily careless with patient communications, since there is a great deal of awareness of the need to protect from liability, so the difference may be subtle. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Free Consultations | No Fee Unless We Win

Email us or call us at 866-585-1076 to discuss your medical malpractice case. There is no cost, no obligation and never a fee unless we are successful. You have nothing to lose by learning your rights and options today.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Request a Free Consult

Penobscot Building, 645 Griswold Street, Suite 4200
Detroit, MI 48226

Toll Free: 866-585-1076
Phone: 313-447-0634
Fax: 313-961-5985
Detroit Office Map

Ohio Office
315 East Main Street
Suite A
Ottawa, OH 45875

Phone: 269-220-3379
Ohio Office Map