Common Mistakes of Handling a Litigation Notice

Debra Hamilton, JD, principal attorney at Hamilton Law and Mediation, discusses importance of confronting a client rather than waiting to go to court.
VMD Staff
Published: October 26, 2016


Debra Hamilton, JD, principal attorney at Hamilton Law and Mediation, discusses importance of confronting a client rather than waiting to go to court.
 
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“What I see veterinarians do that is the biggest mistake they make when they are given notice of litigation is either ignore it, or immediately call their insurance company that might advise them not to talk to their client. Not talking to their client can sometimes escalate the issue greater than it would have been had they talked to their client.

"However, talking to them with a caveat: you should always talk to them in a mediation setting. You should always ask your client, ‘Listen, we’re having a disagreement. I would really like to talk to you more about this. Can we talk about it in a confidentially?’ Because you don’t want to say something that’s going to be used against you if in fact they sue later.

"If you ask to do it in mediation, it’s going to give you the opportunity to hear what the client is upset about, what the staff member is upset about, and give you the opportunity to have that discussion and save that relationship. If in fact you ignore it, or you call your insurance company and they say, ‘You don’t have to worry about it until they sue you,’ you often then go down the path–the rabbit hole, I call it–of litigation. Because you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. This way, you’re proactive, you’re not reactive. You’re really getting in there and helping your client understand why you acted the way you did and understanding better why they acted the way they did.

"So if in fact you feel like you’re going to be sued, don’t wait until you’re sued. Ask your insurance company to mediate early before you’re sued so that you can actually possibly save the relationship with your client. And if you can’t save the relationship with your client, don’t send them away mad. Send them away with the feeling that, ‘Well, I don’t want to ever use Dr. Smith again, but at least he listened to me,’ or she listened to me.”

Sign up to receive the latest news from veterinary business experts.


Veterinarian's Money Digest
Partner Websites
MJH Associates
American Veterinarian
American Journal of Managed Care
ContagionLive
Contemporary Clinic
Cure
Cure Hepatitis C
HRA
MD Magazine
ONCLive
OTCGuide
Pharmacy Times
Specialty Pharmacy Times
Rare Disease Report
Targeted Oncology
Resources
About Us
Careers
Terms & Conditions
Privacy Policy
Intellisphere, LLC
2 Clarke Drive
Suite 100
Cranbury, NJ 08512
P: 609-716-7777
F: 609-257-0701

Copyright Veterinarian's Money Digest® 2018
Intellisphere, LLC. All Rights Reserved.