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How Do Apology Laws Influence My Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

If you’ve ever watched one of the many medical dramas on television, you may have heard, “Don’t apologize or you’re admitting guilt.” In past cases of medical malpractice, these apologies would be used as evidence to assist in approving liability on the part of the medical professional. This led to the development of apology laws.

What are apology laws?

Apology laws prevent certain expressions and statements from being admissible in a lawsuit. More simply, it helps differentiate between compassion or sympathy and actual admission of guilt. Remember that each case is different and you should ask your attorney if a statement made applies to apology laws before disregarding them or attempting to use them as evidence.

Does Texas have apology laws?

Yes, Texas is an apology law state. Apology laws are currently existing in 26 states.

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Texas’s code is as follows:

Sec. 18.061. COMMUNICATIONS OF SYMPATHY. (a) A court in a civil action may not admit a communication that:
(1) expresses sympathy or a general sense of benevolence relating to the pain, suffering, or death of an individual involved in an accident;
(2) is made to the individual or a person related to the individual within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Subchapter B, Chapter 573, Government Code; and
(3) is offered to prove liability of the communicator in relation to the individual.

(b) In this section, “communication” means:

(1) a statement;

(2) a writing; or

(3) a gesture that conveys a sense of compassion or commiseration emanating from humane impulses.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsections (a) and (b), a communication, including an excited utterance as defined by Rule 803(2) of the Texas Rules of Evidence, which also includes a statement or statements concerning negligence or culpable conduct pertaining to an accident or event, is admissible to prove liability of the communicator.

Medical malpractice is a both common and complex thing. If you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact the Maloney lawyers to schedule your consultation.