Skip to main content
Richard T. Cassidy

Richard Cassidy’s Answers

5 total

  • Is it true that "most medical malpractice cases fail" for the plaintiff?

    http://www.startribune.com/business/127980088.html "Only 1 in 5 malpractice claims against doctors leads to a settlement or other payout" "Fewer than 2 percent of doctors each year were the subject of a successful claim, in which the insurer...

    Richard’s Answer

    I have never seen a formal study to back this kind of statement up, but it is generally consistent with what I have seen.

    Many people think that a bad medical outcome it gives them a good case. That is just not correct. In this jurisdiction, the patient must prove that he or she has been injured because of a health care professional’s failure to meet the standard of care for a professional in the field in question.

    Developing that evidence is hard even when that is exactly what has occurred. It is difficult and expensive to pursue a malpractice claim.

    Medical malpractice cases in this jurisdiction are very aggressively defended. Few plaintiffs are successful. I have seen periods of many, many months when every malpractice case that was tried in Vermont resulted in a defendant’s verdict.

    On the other hand, strong cases with serious consequences that are well handled can result in very significant settlements or verdicts.

    If you think you have a claim, get specific advice from experienced counsel in the field.
    consistent

    See question 
  • How often does a client want to change something on the transcript after a deposition?

    Just wondering if this is rare or common?

    Richard’s Answer

    It happens quite frequently.

    Court reporters have a tough job, and in a long deposition, it would be rare for the entire transcript to be error free.

    But, I don't advise my clients to make corrections unless there is a way to read an error that might hurt the case.

    When a transcript contains one or more corrections, a skillful cross-examiner will use those corrections to make clear that the deponent read the transcript carefully, but did not change the point on which the cross examiner is now impeaching the witness.

    The resulting trial dialogue looks like this:

    Cross examining attorney: "I took your deposition?"
    Witness: "Yes"
    Cross examining attorney: "At the time you were under oath?"
    Witness: "Yes"
    Cross examining attorney: "You were obligated to tell the truth, just as you are here today before this jury?"
    Witness: "Yes"
    Cross examining attorney: "And you had the opportunity to read the transcript of your testimony and make any changes you wanted in the transcript?"
    Witness: "Yes"
    Cross examining attorney: "And it fact you did read the transcript of your testimony, didn't you?"
    Witness: "Yes"
    Cross examining attorney: "And in fact you made 37 changes to the transcript didn't you?"
    Witness: "Yes"
    Cross examining attorney: "But you chose not to make any changes to page ___ line ___.
    Witness: "Yes"
    Cross examining attorney: " Your testimony today was____________________________"
    Witness: "Yes"
    Cross examining attorney: "But in your deposition, you testified that [cross examining attorney reads the verbatim deposition testimony that is inconsistent with the witnesses' direct examination testimony.]"

    The corrections add to the sting of the prior inconsistent testimony.

    See question 
  • Do I need a mediator

    I hire a lawyer for my wrongful termination..they are willing to settle. yet,my lawyer is forcing me to take a year salary

    Richard’s Answer

    One can't really tell whether a mediator is needed in your situation. One would need to know more.

    Do you mean someone to mediate between you and your lawyer? You should not be forced to accept a settlement, but you should feel able to trust your lawyer's advice on the subject. If you don't, you need to find a way to improve the quality of your lawyer/client relationship. Perhaps a second opinion would help. It would seem unusual to have a mediator work between you and your own lawyer, but in certain circumstances, it could help.

    It doesn't sound like you need a mediator in your dispute with your former employer, but one would need to know more in order to tell.

    See question 
  • Does a client ever talk during mediation?

    Or does just his attorney?

    Richard’s Answer

    Sure. It all depends on how the mediation is structured, and assuming there is a lawyer, on what the lawyer and client agree on. When I work as a mediator, I usually turn to clients and ask if they want to say something. I've seen some very cynical clients on the other side change their attitude towards a party who has something real to say.

    When I am a lawyer representing a client, my practice is to talk with my client about this in advance. Usually, there is real advantage in having the client say something. Claimants can normally describe the impact a wrong has had on them best. Defendants, particularly where liability is uncontestable, are sometimes able to offer an apology that is meaningful to a claimant.

    There is always the exceptional case. Sometimes, I try to avoid having people who are very unreasonable talk , as they may damage the settlement context. But even in such a case, it may help if the other side gets to see the unreasonableness first hand.

    Particularly when one or both parties are individuals, but sometimes even between companies, having a client talk can add something real that can help settle a case.

    See question 
  • More psychological damages than physical damages?

    In my medical malpractice case I have extreme mental anguish/emotional distress but mild physical damage. Does that effect the merit/strength/worth of the case?

    Richard’s Answer

    Generally speaking the entire pattern of the case affects its merit.
    Emotional distress is usually more subjective than physical harm and therefore seen in a more skeptical light.
    You should understand that, at least here in Vermont, medical malpractice cases are very aggressively defended.
    In Vermont, most experienced lawyers in the field will only take cases where liability is strong and the damages are serious.
    You should understand that your claim will be barred by the mere passage of time under the applicable statute of limitations, unless filed before the statute expires.

    See question