The New York medical malpractice arena tends to like to ask for and give confidentiality agreements. Defendants and defense attorneys will push for them often, and plaintiffs and plaintiff attorneys will acquiesce. This means that the individual doctors who are liable for the medical malpractice will not be named, identified, or associated with the lawsuit if the matter is settled with a confidentiality agreement.
But I do not follow this. I will not grant a confidentiality agreement.
First, there is no law requiring a confidentiality agreement to be signed. In fact, it is practically against public policy. Court proceedings are meant to be OPEN proceeding, meaning the public should be able to access them. This is why sealing records is also very hard to do unless it is a matter with a minor or a divorce. Most other records must be open for the public.
Second, this prevents prospective patients from being able to properly research their doctors. A confidentiality agreement will prevent medical malpractice from showing up on a doctor’s record. As you may know, all physicians can be looked up on the New York State Physician Lookup website. This includes their education, residency, and any medical malpractice cases against them. If a case is settled with a confidentiality agreement, it will not show up on that website.
Confidentiality agreements just allow DANGEROUS doctors to continue to practice. When they make mistakes, get sued, get to the position where they settle to avoid a verdict, the dangerous doctor SHOULD BE LIABLE and it should REMAIN known! They should not get a do-over or to hide their mistakes. A medical malpractice case involves a lot of work, and when the defendant doctors make the plaintiff—the victim—do all of this work and then the defendant doctor can just walk away with no attachment to his or her name, it is really a slap in the face of justice.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.