Virginia Medical Malpractice Admissions: Va. Code Ann. §8.01-52.1 & 8.01-581.20:1 – a Lawyer’s Inadmissibility
House Bill 2057 passed the Virginia General Assembly in 2009. Effective July 1, 2009, it amends Va. Code Ann. §8.01-52.1 and §8.01-581.20:1.
Prior to amendment, the statute rendered certain so-called “gestures expressing sympathy or general sense of benevolence” inadmissible against a healthcare provider in cases of nursing home abuse and other medical malpractice. The amendment expands that to include “commiseration, condolence, compassion . . . together with apologies.”
At common law and in court rules, such admissions of liability or other statements against interest by a wrongdoer could be introduced in cases of nursing home abuse and other medical malpractice. Hence, the statute and its amendment is protectionist legislation enjoyed by healthcare providers and no other citizens of Virginia.
Studies have shown that healthcare providers guilty of nursing home abuse and other medical malpractice who admit liability to their patients after-the-fact are less likely to be sued for their wrongdoing and resulting damages. Thus, this special interest legislation essentially lets all offending healthcare providers admit liability with impunity toward avoiding being sued, but then to duplicitously deny liability to unknown jurors and to gag the knowing victims at trial if still sued.