If you are a practicing doctor, the chances of being sued for malpractice are very high. According to a study appearing in the England Journal of Medicine, approximately 99% of doctors practicing in high-risk specialties will be sued by the age of 65.
Therefore, if you are facing a malpractice lawsuit as a physician, you can take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. Here are some essential tips to help you stand a better chance of winning.
Involve Your Insurer at the Earliest Sign of Trouble
At the earliest sign of trouble, inform your insurer. This is important because your insurer will allocate a claims representative to provide legal guidance during the process of litigation
There are also many medical malpractice lawyers and it would be wise to hire one to develop your defense based on the law. One of the fundamental pieces of advice that you’ll likely be given by these professionals is to never to speak to the plaintiff’s lawyer.
This is likely to be a trap and whatever you say can be used against you in court. Collect all the records pertaining to your patient to establish that you performed your duties according to the standards and protocols of medical practice.
Don’t Attempt to Alter Records
Many physicians sued for malpractice are usually tempted to alter medical records in order to destroy evidence of malpractice. Medical records are backed up in different databases and any attempt to supplement or reconstruct records can be detected.
This can be used to taint your credibility and convince the jury that you lack integrity. Once it is established that you altered records, you will have destroyed any chances of winning your case.
Master Your Deposition Testimony
Before your malpractice trial, you will be expected to give your testimony under oath as a preamble to the trial. During the deposition testimony, your weaknesses and strengths are revealed and the plaintiff can use your weaknesses to prepare how to attack you during trial.
Make sure you practice for your testimony with the help of your lawyer. In case of cross examination, the plaintiff lawyer may take an accusatory tone and attack your competence. Remember that this is just a tactic to get to you. Keep calm and composed, and answer questions objectively.
Assist your Attorney to Discredit Plaintiff’s Case
Your attorney will probably not be as well conversant with medical practices as you are. If you notice any discrepancies in terms of medical practice on the plaintiff’s logic, share it with your attorney. Don’t expect your attorney to handle the technical aspects of the case alone.
Ensure you prepare a proper justification of the actions you took while treating the patient and explain the decisions you made. Have the patient’s records at hand to guide you through this process.
Medical malpractice lawsuits for physicians are a common thing. If you are a practicing physician, chances are high that you will be sued for malpractice by the time you hit 65.
If you are sued for malpractice, ensure that you call your insurance service provider immediately so that you are provided with a legal expert as soon as possible. Don’t attempt to alter the medical records of your patient. Doing this will definitely augur badly for you in court and taint your credibility.
Finally, practice your deposition testimony in advance and also ensure to maintain your cool when being cross examined. Doctors are a respected lot and in most cases, you will have the jury on your side. Just present yourself with decorum.