Smiley & Smiley, LLP

John Ritter's Death - Was It Medical Malpractice?


The verdict is in. The jury has spoken. The cardiologist and radiologist did not commit malpractice in their treatment of John Ritter. They didn't cause his death. Was the jury's decision a correct one? Maybe. Maybe not. Medical malpractice cases are extremely difficult to win. Statistically, about 80% are lost. The reason is simple. The majority of jurors hold doctors in very high regard and are not quick to find fault unless the facts are egregious (i.e. amputating the wrong leg, failing to read a lab result that shows a finding of cancer, etc.) As I explained at the start of this trial on Headline News, it always comes down to a battle of the experts for each side. In this case, the doctors experts apparently won the battle - the jurors believed their view more than the views of the family's experts. Often times, jurors will be inclined to go with the expert for the side that they want to help. If the doctor being sued has good credentials and makes a good witness, the jury will usually want to help the doctor. On the other hand, if the doctor is an awful witness (arrogant, timid, poor credentials) and the family/plaintiff is extremely sympathetic, a jury will tend to go with the family/plaintiff's experts. I'd be willing to bet the farm, that the doctors being sued in this case made great witnesses. Inevitably, injustice occurs as often as justice is served - good, legitimate cases are lost all the time. The bottom line is this: people have a right to sue when there is a good faith basis for believing that malpractice occurred. The Ritter family had a strong case. That's why they obtained $14Million dollars from various other doctors and hospitals before the start of this trial. Trust me, that kind of money is not handed over unless there is a legitimate cause for concern. However, the jury has spoken and the Ritter family will have to live with its verdict. Unless, of course, they choose to appeal...

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Smiley & Smiley, LLP
122 East 42nd Street, 39th Floor
New York, NY 10168

Toll Free: 866-764-5395
Phone: 212-986-2022
Fax: 212-697-4689
New York Law Office Map