Six Ways To Void a Suit



If a plaintiff and their attorney plan to sue you, there are not a lot of ways to avoid it. But there are some, situations where their efforts fall through, and you want to be aware of these. Don't help them.

1) Providing your records. There are state rules that govern what you provide of a chart when requested. There is a time that you are obligated to respond, for example 2-4 weeks. Usually you only provide the material generated in your office, not those from other doctors, offices or labs. Give only what you are supposed to, when you are supposed to. Because the slower the process goes the more likely it is to fail.

2) Poor Service of the Case. This has a lot of technical details, depending on both your state and local case law. So ask your attorney. But the service has to be to you, or a person associated with you who would understand what is being served. For example, serving an employee, a family member, or leaving the papers may well fail. In addition misrepresentations on the part of a process server may also void the service, e.g. pretending to be there for some other purpose.

3) Exceeding the Statue of Limitations: Depending on local rules, the issues here are when was the patient last seen for care of this problem? And second is there anything prolonging the statute, where the patient may be a minor, or something was left in the wound? But knowing the deadline, be alert to it, because the plaintiff's attorney may very well try to serve in the last few days. If this is the case, don't make it easy for them, as one of the other issues here may well add to the deadline, making the service invalid or too late. Also, surprising as it is, cases are filed after the statue as well. This can be particularly true if the time when care ended for this problem is in dispute.

4) What was your involvement? You are often named in the hope you are involved. Or until facts are clarified more. You can be dropped on this basis as the discovery process proceeds.

5) Negotiate being dropped, leaving an institution or other healthcare provider in the case. For example the hospital may drop the physician from the case, or others may be determined to be the main targets. You may be able to clarify your role, or point out that the harm occurred with earlier care, and you were managing the consequences.

6) Negotiations at the conclusion of a case, with settlement, may chose to drop one or more defendants for a variety of reasons. This can be an institutional policy, or based on a clearer understanding of the responsibility, or an older retiring defendant in a group may let a younger one still practicing drop from the case in order not to have to report you.