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Apology law could impact medical malpractice cases in Ohio

A medical malpractice attorney, like all lawyers, must constantly be aware of possible changes to the law that could affect current and future clients. There is a bill before the Ohio General Assembly that would allow doctors to apologize to patients for mistakes they made to the detriment of the patient, without having that apology or admission of error be used later as evidence or admission of guilt by the doctor in a possible future medical malpractice case.

This bill, which is being supported by the Ohio State Medical Association, would shield doctors if they choose to apologize for mistakes. The rationale behind it is that many patients are simply looking for explanations as to what went wrong. By having Ohio physicians openly admit mistakes, it will discourage litigation in the form of medical malpractice lawsuits where the injured party simply wants to get answers about what went wrong.

It is important to understand that this bill would not prevent injured patients from bringing forth a medical malpractice lawsuit against a negligent doctor, nurse or hospital.

The law may be designed to allow for more honest dialogue between doctors and patients by removing the fear of liability in connection with any admission of fault; but an injured patient is still entitled to initiate a medical malpractice lawsuit when he or she may be entitled to compensation for the physical injuries, pain and suffering caused by a negligent physician.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be aware of any possible changes to laws affecting clients. This bill has yet to be passed into law, but if you have been injured by a negligent doctor it is wise to let your lawyer know exactly what your doctor said to you concerning their mistake.

Source: Akron Beacon Journal, "Apology proposal could reduce malpractice, officials say," Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Dec. 2, 2014

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