Fairness is the bedrock of the civil justice system. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers know that in law school all future attorneys-including those who end up working for plaintiffs as well as defendants-are drilled in what this fairness principle actually means. It is not merely lip service to the idea that both sides are able to make arguments. The basic idea of fairness is all-encompassing and guides how attorneys act inside and outside the courtroom.
Of course attorneys are zealous advocates for their clients. But there are limits to that advocacy. An attorney must not take that zealous advocacy to the point of trying to trick the other party. That is why, for example, attorneys for one party in a suit do not contact or discuss material with the other party without that party’s attorney present. The purpose of the civil justice system is to reach truth and provide fair redress. That mission is not accomplished when coercive or underhanded schemes are used.
All Illinois medical malpractice attorneys must keep this in mind to ensure our profession remains an ethical one. The public consciousness has unfortunately shifted in some ways, and lawyers are often viewed as dishonest and manipulative. While we cannot defend all attorneys, our team maintains a steadfast commitment to fairness and honesty at all times. We do not attempt to take advantage of any party-even defendants. The goal is helping those hurt by misconduct receive the support they need to fully recover from all of their losses while holding negligent parties accountable.
We are committed to this fairness. That is why it is particularly shocking to see certain states attempt to enact legislation that runs completely counter to that spirit of openness and fairness. For example, the “early offer” legislative proposal currently being considered in New Hampshire would do nothing more than basically try to “trick” patients into signing away fundamental legal rights. No one who cares about an impartial justice system should support these incredibly misguided efforts.
Recently, the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, Joanne Doroshow, testified in front of a state legislative committee on the measure. She attempted to clarify the harmful effects of these bills.
She explained how this particular “early offer” legislation seek to get patients to sign into a special “system”-usually before they have any chance to talk with a legal professional or even know the full extent of their own injuries. Once in the system, the patient has to abide by very different rules when trying to get compensation for the harm caused as a result of medical malpractice. Unsurprisingly, those alternative rules are slanted severely against the patient-essentially allowing the hospital to get away with providing far less compensation to the patient than otherwise.
Our medical malpractice lawyers stand steadfastly against all legislative proposals that seek to trick patients out of their basic legal rights. We are confident that most residents, when fully apprised of the effects of this sort of legislation, would also reject these dangerous changes. It remains important to keep abreast of these potential tort reform efforts, because similar proposals might be introduced in our state at any time.
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