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Under Idaho's Apology Law, can I use a doctor’s apology for a mistake to show her liability for medical malpractice?


Medical malpractice occurs in a variety of ways, such as if your doctor misdiagnosed your medical condition; did not see the signs of cancer on a test; or gave you a medication that was incompatible with other medicines you take. As a result of malpractice, you might suffer even worse medical conditions—some life-threatening—and be emotionally devastated from coping with your new illness. Your doctor may feel terrible about his mistake and offer an apology. Can you use this as an admission of liability if you bring a medical malpractice case against him?doctor in white coat

Idaho’s Apology Law

Some doctors are wary of apologizing for any errors they made, worried such statements could be used against them in a medical malpractice case. In addition, some patients and their families get even more upset when the doctor does not offer an apology. More than 30 states—including Idaho—have enacted laws to help clarify for physicians, patients, and their families how to demonstrate humanity when a patient's care is compromised.   

Idaho’s apology law provides as follows:

  • Prohibits patients and their families from using an apology or conciliatory statement by a doctor as evidence of liability.
  • Broadly excludes any statements, affirmations, gestures, or other conduct that exhibits sympathy, commiseration, condolence, or compassion and includes any accompanying explanation.
  • Allows a statement of fault as evidence of liability even if it is said in the context of an apology.

There can be a fine distinction between whether a statement is an inadmissible apology or a statement of fault. This determination can be crucial in establishing the doctor’s liability for medical malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you prove that the statement is not an excluded apology.

Did you or a family member suffer injuries due to your doctor’s malpractice? You could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma. Call me today at 888.716.8021 to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment to learn how I can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.