Malpractice: When to Settle a Suit and When to Fight

Neil Chesanow

Disclosures

September 25, 2013

In This Article

Tipping the Scales in Your Favor

McMenamin believes that many doctors absent themselves from the legal process -- to their detriment -- because they are used to being in control. The courtroom is alien territory. You are out of your element. You feel powerless.

"I think it's the feeling of helplessness as much as anything that's tough for doctors to swallow," he says. "They are used to being in charge. They're used to getting their own way. Part of the stress in the courtroom is that you don't know what's happening. You don't have much sense of any potential capacity to influence, much less dominate, events."

This is a profound misconception, McMenamin maintains. "You're not helpless," he insists. "You have far more power than you realize. The person in the witness stand has a lot of power if he knows how to use it. That, in part, is the counselor's job: to help the doctor understand that. You can be of great value to your counsel, and therefore to your own case, if you step up to the plate."

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