Your doctor made an error in your treatment or maybe a diagnostic error that caused you further harm. You know that your added suffering was their fault because they acknowledged it and apologized.
That’s “game, set and match” for a medical malpractice suit, right? Unfortunately, if this occurred here in Connecticut, you’ll need more.
What Connecticut law says
Under Connecticut law, medical providers’ apologies can’t be used as evidence against them. Specifically, the law states in part, “In any civil action brought by an alleged victim of an unanticipated outcome of medical care…any and all statements, affirmations, gestures or conduct expressing apology, fault, sympathy, commiseration, condolence, compassion or a general sense of benevolence that are made by a health care provider or an employee of a health care provider…that relate to the discomfort, pain, suffering, injury or death of the alleged victim as a result of the unanticipated outcome of medical care shall be inadmissible as evidence of an admission of liability….”
Many states have laws that give doctors some leeway in expressing sympathy to a patient for the effects of a bad outcome without having those expressions used against them. This can help the patient-doctor relationship considerably. In many cases, if the harm is relatively temporary, minor and reparable, it can even make a patient less inclined to take legal action.
However, a small number of states, including Connecticut, have more comprehensive “apology laws” that protect medical providers from having their apologies used as evidence in malpractice claims.
An apology can help lead you to other evidence
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t find other evidence to back up your claim. In fact, the more detailed your doctor (or other medical personnel) are in discussing what happened, the more evidence you can gather to use in your claim.
Medical malpractice claims can be challenging and complex, even when it may seem obvious that a doctor made an egregious mistake. The sooner you seek experienced legal guidance to evaluate your case and start investigating and gathering evidence, the better your chances are of getting justice and fair compensation.