How Do “Apology Laws” Impact Medical Malpractice Cases?

“I am sorry.”

Those three little words can mean so much when someone has wronged us. And yet, those words can be so hard to say. There are a number of reasons why people are reluctant to apologize when they have made a mistake or done something wrong, but when it comes to medical errors, an apology may carry with it legal significance, as well.

Most states, including Illinois, have “apology laws” that allow doctors to express feelings of remorse without those statements being used against them in court in connection with a medical malpractice lawsuit. Apology laws range from a protection of all “statements, affirmations, gestures or conduct expressing apology, fault, sympathy, commiseration, condolence, compassion or a general sense of benevolence” to a protection of expressions of sympathy or benevolent gestures.

Many experts believe that apologies improve patient-doctor communication and trust, and reduce anger in the patient. Although doctors are protected from apologies being used in a medical malpractice lawsuit, many doctors are still reluctant to apologize for a number of reasons. The doctor may be in denial about his or her role in the medical errors and may not believe that his or her conduct warrants an apology. In other situations, a doctor may not apologize out of fear that the patient will take legal action because of the apology.

Regardless of whether a patient receives and apology or not, patients who are the victim of medical negligence are entitled to full and fair financial compensation for their injuries and damages. While an apology may be good for the soul and helpful for the patient’s emotional recovery, an apology does not pay the mounting medical bills that you may be facing. Accordingly, if you were the victim of a preventable medical error, you may want to consider taking legal action even if the doctor or hospital expressed sympathy or apologized for the medical error.

The Chicago medical malpractice law firm of Cogan & Power, P.C. is dedicated to helping medical malpractice victims and their families obtain the financial recovery that they deserve, as evidenced by numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that they have obtained on behalf of their clients. Victims of medical malpractice are entitled to both an apology and financial compensation for their injuries, and we are determined to fight to get medical malpractice plaintiffs the most favorable settlement or verdict possible.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a preventable medical error, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Cogan & Power, P.C. at (312) 477-2500 to learn more about a possible medical malpractice lawsuit. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.