filing a malpractice claim

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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filing a malpractice claim

I wonder is it possible to file a malpractice suit if my doctor moved to a different country?


Asked on October 28, 2018 under Malpractice Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Is it possible? Yes--a U.S. citizen can sue a resident of or citizen of another nation in U.S. courts if the action giving rise to the cause of action (i.e. the malpractice) occured here; if someone practiced medicine in a given state/county and committed malpractice there, his/her practice and malpractice created a sufficient state interest and sufficient connection to the wrong so as to let the state court hear the matter. 
That said, there are considerable obstacles involved:
1) You have to properly serve someone in another country which, even if you have an address, can be difficult and more costly.
2) Some other countries do not enforce U.S. judgments: even if you sue and win--such as by "default," if the other side doesn't even bother showing up to court--you then can't do anything with the judgment unless that person left significant assets behind in the U.S. Otherwise, if everything he has and all his money is in a country which does not enforce our judgments, you'll never get paid.
3) Even if the other country will enforce a U.S. judgment, to enforce it, you have to work through their courts and their system. At a minimumm, this effectively means additional legal proceedings in the other nation and having to hire a lawyer there; and some countries do NOT have good, efficient, and/or honest legal systems, so you could spend alot of moeny and effort without being successful.
In regards to 2) and 3): which country he/she moved to is critical.
The doctor moved to England--while it would be more costly and expensive than if he/she were still in the States, you could credibly sue.
The doctor moved to India--you are unlikely to ever see any money.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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