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Admitting Liability in a Medical Malpractice Case

In most medical malpractice cases, the defending doctor has failed to provide the required standard of care, which has resulted in harm to the patient. In certain cases, the liability is obvious, and the defendant's lawyer might even recognize and agree that the doctor had clearly departed from providing good medical care. However, in most cases the doctor's lawyer will not admit this in court and will waste time trying to prove to the court that the doctor was not responsible for the malpractice and the resulting injuries to the patient.

Even though the defendant's lawyer does not have anything to show how the doctor was not responsible, he will still try to focus on the doctor's charming and astounding character and so on. The strategy is to make the jury believe he could not have committed medical malpractice because of his fine character.

Lack of Evidence

However, this strategy is seriously flawed, since the doctor's lawyer does not have any evidence to show about the doctor providing the required level of expected medical care. Rather, it seems the lawyer is trying to take away the focus of the jury from the facts of the case, and asking the jury to see the good qualities of the doctor, which is irrelevant to what the trial is trying to establish.

Therefore, should the defendant lawyer admit liability and stop wasting the time of the court, and would that be a prudent strategy? The answer would be yes, to both the questions. Admitting liability would save the time of the court, as it is obvious to everybody that the doctor has failed to provide the expected standard of care. Trying to prove the doctor's excellent character is not going to change this fact. Trying to make the jury see that the doctor is actually a nice person and that he did not intend this incident to happen is not really the point. Trying the case on liability is simply going to waste the court's time. The only issue is how much money should be awarded to the plaintiff.

Coming Clean

Getting on with the case and not wasting the jury's time would actually be a magnificent strategy for the defendant's lawyer. When the doctor has been careless, and the victim has suffered harm and losses due to this carelessness, it would be fruitless to prove that the doctor did not intend to be careless or he has an excellent track record up to now. Rather the jury would appreciate admittance of liability, so that they can focus on determining damages that should be awarded to the victim.

This frank admittance of liability would be a powerful strategy for the doctor, since the jury will know their time is not being wasted in proving something that is already obvious. When the carelessness of the doctor is obvious, it is not going to make any difference to the jury about determining damages. The compensation to be awarded is always based on the damages suffered by the plaintiff, and not on the character of the doctor.

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