Getting Inside a Medical Malpractice Case
I've read dozens of news stories about medical malpractice. Some evoke my sympathy for horribly injured plaintiffs who suffered at the hands of careless, trusted doctors, while others make me wonder whether a doctor or hospital is unfairly penalized for an unavoidable result. But I've never really felt what it was like to be inside one of these cases until I learned about the series of posts by pseudonymous blogger and pediatrician Flea, who's covering his experience as a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit at his blog. Eric Turkewitz alerted readers to Flea's blog at this post at New York Personal Injury Attorney Blog
Turkewitz considers some of the risks that Flea faces as a blogging defendant:
In opening the door to the legal sanctuary however -- that is, the special place where all contacts with one's lawyers are protected -- he is running two giant risks: First, if his cover is blown and plaintiff's counsel finds out he has been blogging, he can be cross-examined on those contacts and advice that he wrote about, for the privilege disappears when the substance is discussed publicly. Second, by opening that door, he runs the danger of his insurance carrier disclaiming against him in the event of a verdict on behalf of the plaintiff, on the claim that discussing his trial prep hindered the defense. The man is, if nothing else, a risk-taker in that regard.
His decision to walk this high-wire without a net brings us to a third issue: If plaintiff's counsel finds out about the blog, should it be used at trial? A lawyer's gut reaction may be yes, in order to claim to the jury that what they are seeing is a well-rehearsed act. But if the risk is that the insurance carrier uses it as an excuse to disclaim on a plaintiff's verdict, it may be entirely counterproductive. In this sense, Flea shares a common goal with his nemesis: They both want the insurance company standing there in case of a plaintiff's verdict.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 8, 2007 at 06:50 PM | Permalink
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