Are Malpractice Apology Laws Ineffective?

Personal Injury News | April 15, 2020

Different states have different laws when it comes to handling medical malpractice. Some states have apology laws that allow physicians to apologize to patients without any legal repercussions. When it comes to medical malpractice apology laws, recent studies have found these laws to be ineffective for reducing liability risks. This has led some medical professionals to doubt whether these laws actually decrease their chances of being sued by patients. 

If you suffered injuries from medical malpractice, consider hiring a New York Medical Malpractice Attorney to explore your options for compensation. 

What Are Medical Malpractice Apology Laws?

Medical malpractice apology laws are used by certain states to protect doctors and other health professionals from litigation when they choose to directly apologize to a patient. In other words, if the physician makes an apology to a patient for an injury, malpractice, or a general medical mistake cannot be used against that physician in a court of law. 

Many physicians appreciate these laws because the normal instinct after causing a patient any type of harm, is to apologize. Doctors who are prevented from apologizing for legal fears or other reasons often feel strange about this. Lawyers usually advise doctors to not say anything to the patient, even an apology, because of the risk of the patient interpreting this the wrong way.

Any statement a doctor makes to a patient after medical malpractice is thought to be risky and can be used in court against the doctor unless the doctor only apologized and lives in a state with apology laws. 

How Are Apology Laws Ineffective?

Apology laws are one of the most widespread tort reforms in the United States. They were created with the expectation that patients would less likely file a lawsuit against their physician if the physician is able to apologize without fear of litigation. However, a recent study on apology laws showed that malpractice apology laws may not actually reduce the chances of a doctor being sued. 

Some people look at a doctor’s apology as an admission of guilt and of making a mistake. While apologizing is the noble thing to do, patients interpret apologies in different ways and they can use evidence other than the apology to use in their medical malpractice lawsuit. The bottom line is that whether apology laws exist or not, they seem to make little to no difference other than taking away a patient’s right to use a doctor’s apology in court.

Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New York

Putting together the evidence for a strong medical malpractice claim can be difficult to do alone. Consider talking with a North Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer if you have questions about this process and what your legal options are. Depending on what happened, you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. 

At Gattuso & Ciotoli, our team of lawyers has years of experience with medical malpractice claims. Contact us at (315) 314-8000 for a free consultation today. We are located in Central New York, Syracuse, Watertown, Binghamton, Syracuse, North Syracuse, Camillus, Liverpool, Cortland, and Auburn. Our goal is to help you defend your rights.