If you suffered harm because your doctor made a mistake or perhaps failed to do the appropriate diagnostic testing to determine your medical condition until it was too late, it can make you feel a little better that they apologized for their negligence. However, if you want to hold them liable via a medical malpractice claim, that apology can’t be used against them.
That’s because Georgia, like some other states, has enacted a law that excludes apologies by medical providers from being used in malpractice cases against them. Some other states have less stringent “apology laws” that allow apologies that involve an admission of fault to be used as evidence but not a less specific expression of sympathy for what a patient is going through.
Why more apologies by doctors are generally a good thing
One of the advantages of these various laws is that they make doctors less fearful of doing what many would like to do (and what patients and families expect), which is to show some empathy for a setback or a poor outcome that’s left a patient worse off. In some cases, an apology has been shown to be enough to prevent a patient from taking legal action. Of course, when serious harm or death has resulted or if the harm was caused by egregious negligence or errors, that’s not likely to be the case.
Of course, those who have been harmed by a doctor in Georgia can certainly still have a viable medical malpractice case even if they can’t use an apology as evidence. An apology can help in the investigation and gathering of other evidence and witnesses that can be presented in a legal claim. That’s why if you or a loved one has been harmed due to medical negligence or error, it’s wise to seek legal guidance as soon as possible to determine your options and the best course of action.