Building a solid medical malpractice case is a challenging task, and there are a lot of pieces that have to be put into place to build a case that stands a chance of bringing a favorable result for an injured patient.
In the first place, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to determine whether the evidence in a case is strong enough to take to court before proceeding to litigation. In many cases, settling is better option. In others, going to trial gives the plaintiff the best opportunity to receive fair compensation for injuries, despite the costs involved.
If it is determined that a case is worth bringing to trial, one important factor to consider is the physician’s attitude toward the patient. This can affect not only the decision to proceed with litigation, but also the perceptions of the jury about the case and ultimately the outcome of a malpractice case.
Many patients who have been injured by a negligent physician choose to go to court because of the physician’s dismissive attitude toward the patient. Defensiveness, arrogance, argumentativeness, refusing to cooperate with attorneys, and refusing to communicate or empathize with the patient are all factors that can spur a patient to litigation. A bad attitude can also potentially be used to the patient’s advantage before a jury.
The role of the jury in a medical malpractice case is to make factual determinations about key issues in the case, including negligence. Although there can be a great deal of technical information for the jury to consider in medical malpractice cases, the jury will also assess the credibility of the accused physician and determine whether his or her testimony is reliable and trustworthy. The accused physician’s skill and experience are important in this determination, but so is the physician’s attitude toward the patient and the malpractice case, and the way the jury perceives his or her character.
In our next post, we’ll look at a specific example of how the jury’s perception of a physician’s character and credibility can be used to a plaintiff’s advantage in medical malpractice litigation.