Medical malpractice cases are some of the more difficult liability cases we are asked to handle for injured clients. In these cases, words and phrases can often be of particular importance. For example, statements that combine common sense with ideas of negligence are powerful: “Caution and double checking is a part of good medical care.”

Another idea is when introducing a statement consider using rhetorical questions rather than statements. For example:

  • Why are we here? What did the doctor do wrong?
  • What would another doctor have done?
  • Why did the pediatrician choose to play Russian roulette with this child’s life?
  • What happens when medical people ignore danger signs?
  • Why didn’t they pay attention to the danger signals?

If possible, try to summarize the case in a short paragraph. For example:

“the doctor obviously made the wrong choice, and took the greatest risk. What’s the right choice? The lowest risk. You don’t have to be a doctor to figure that out. All you need is common sense.”

Consider using word associations as for example:

  • The baby needed intensive care and got intensive neglect.
  • Doctors should help us, not hurt us.
  • A doctor should test, rather than guess

Consider the questions in jury selection in medical malpractice cases with the goal of obtaining attitude answers.  Here are some open ended questions lawyers have used successfully:

  • Is what you do as a juror important for a waste of time?
  • Our old people really worth anything?
  • How many people feel as though there has been a lack of trust in our world?
  • Has anybody ever been in a position to bring a lawsuit but chose not to?
  • What does the phrase” running a medical stop sign” mean to you?
  • What is your definition of quality medical care?
  • How many of you check the Internet about your medical condition before you seek medical care?
  • What is a doctor’s primary responsibility in caring for patients?

These are a few examples of giving real thought to the words you use in these cases and how you express yourself, because words do count.


  1. I just read another post where you talk about it’s not what you say but how you say it, and you are spot on with that title/comment. Of course, it’s true in all professions but more so for attorneys. A turn of phrase can mean the difference between winning and losing, whether it’s money or punishment.

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