Archive for January, 2011
1. You should be prepared to show that you suffered a genuine emotional upset.
You should be seen by a psychiatrist or psychologist, who can confirm that you are not faking. The doctor should order a complete medical work
-up, in addition to the psychological consultation. Otherwise, the defense lawyer may convince the jury you are faking, or your condition is due to some other cause.
2. You must show that it was more than a temporary upset.
You should maintain contact with your doctor or psychiatrist, while your case is in progress, especially if you continue to feel the emotional effects of your insult or injury. If you are actually under treatment by a psychiatrist, your case is stronger. Your testimony that you have had psychological problems, since your injury, is not nearly as convincing to a jury as your treating physician’s testimony that you have required ongoing care.
3. You must show that it had an adverse effect on your life.
You should keep a diary of your problems and relations with others. This helps to document the adverse changes that have occurred in your family, social, and business relationships. Letters, documents, or written comments about your condition are also helpful to your lawyer; however, they should be spontaneous. You should never solicit them from other people. The courts will not admit written evidence,
which has been prepared in anticipation of litigation. In other words, the judge probably will not let your lawyer show the jury a document that has been written at your request because of the chance that it is phony or misleading.
A California woman sued a plastic surgeon, because he located her umbilicus (belly button) an inch to one side, while removing fat from her abdomen. The jury gave her an award for a little displacement of her belly button. She won because she first established malpractice by bringing in a professor of Plastic Surgery as her medical expert witness. But, she also brought in a psychiatrist, who testified the plaintiff was so upset by bad results of the surgery that she had been under his care since it happened, and her career, marriage, and social life had suffered.
4. You have to establish that confidential information was leaked.
A medical malpractice case is not a criminal case, so you do not have to prove exactly who did it or how it was done, although it helps if you can produce a reliable witness, who heard the doctor talking openly about your condition. But, it is not absolutely necessary. The fact that confidential information, only the doctor heard from you in the privacy of his office, has become public knowledge is enough in some states.
A celebrity was in a New York hospital with a heart condition. Some reporters have contacts inside hospitals and pay hospital employees for information about famous patients. Every morning the New York newspapers reported on what had happened to the celebrity in the hospital. His cardiologist said he first learned the results of his patient’s ECG (electrocardiogram) when he read it in the morning paper. The celebrity sued the hospital for invasion of privacy and won.