Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liability Issues

It's no secret that America has become the most litigious society on earth -- and that lawsuits come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Some people file suit because they are dissatisfied with the results of their plastic surgery.

  • Some may be filing a Workers' Compensation disability claim.

  • Some lawsuits are based on claims of medical malpractice and wrongful death.

  • Some are nuisance lawsuits filed in an attempt to achieve a quick, out-of-court financial settlement.

When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, you can remain confident of one thing: Whether or not the lawsuit is justified, it is going to cost money. Legal action generates income for attorneys and their support staff much more rapidly than it generates a settlement for the plaintiff. That's probably why, in King Henry VI, William Shakespeare insisted that "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!"

Attorneys will go to any lengths to win a case. Prosecuting attorneys will review lists of doctors available as expert witnesses to determine which doctor has the greatest potential to become the reliable, pliable, and cooperative "medical whore" who can punch holes in the defense's case.
  • An aggressive prosecuting attorney will take great delight in stripping a physician of any "aura" which a physician thinks might accompany him into the courtroom.

  • A prosecuting attorney will be more than happy to humiliate a doctor in court by hammering away at technicalities and inconsistencies until the doctor is reduced to a stuttering mound of flesh.
That's because, for lawyers, it's all part of a game called "Got'cha!"

It's all about winning.

Attorneys who defend doctors in medical malpractice lawsuits stress how difficult it is to provide a viable defense for the physician whose inadequate records, sloppy documentation, and poor dictation skills leave him totally vulnerable to the opposition. Your involvement in any lawsuit -- whether as a defendant or expert witness -- can be costly in terms of lost billing time and/or damage to your professional reputation. That's why you always want to remember the letters C-Y-A.

  • In certain religious circles, C-Y-A stands for Christian Youth of America.

  • For purposes of patient documentation, C-Y-A stands for COVER YOUR ASS!

[Language Skills Worksheet #11]

Next: An Ounce of Prevention

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