What Are the Top 4 Defenses Against Negligence by a Doctor?

There is nothing more devastating than seeking treatment for an illness or assistance with the birth of your baby than having something unexpected go wrong that leaves you worse off than before. For example, a birth injury, where you are left having to care for the child for a lifetime, creates challenges for parents that can seem unsurmountable.

Unfortunately, a number of these cases are due to medical negligence, no matter how caring the medical staff or how stellar the reputation of the facility.

Filing a medical malpractice case is extraordinarily complex and expensive, so it best to seek the advice of a birth injury attorney in Michigan, who can help you evaluate the merits of your case (according to the four requirements for negligence to be proven) and get you the assistance you require.

What is Medical Negligence or Medical Malpractice?

Every year hundreds of thousands of patients put their trust in medical professionals, who mostly provide excellent care, but sometimes things go wrong, with catastrophic and occasionally life-changing effects. However, it is not always due to medical negligence, and it is important to understand the difference between an error of judgement, an unavoidable injury or outcome, and actual medical negligence.

Negligence is a common component in tort law and refers to a failure in duty of care. Doctors have a duty of care to their patients, and so do their teams and the facilities they use to practice.

Medical negligence is an ‘act or omission by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care.’

4 Components of a Medical Malpractice Case

However, to have a medical malpractice case, you need to satisfy all four of the following components:

  • Duty of Care
  • Breach of duty
  • Causal connection
  • Actual loss or harm

If the plaintiff had a role to play in the outcome, Contributory Negligence or Comparative Negligence will come into play. The first bars the plaintiff from any recovery, and in the latter, it is diminished based on his percentage contribution to the loss. Under Michigan law (MCL § 600.2959) the latter is applied, and you should discuss this with your birth injury attorney or lawyers specializing in medical malpractice. If the percentage is higher than 50, there are no damages.

Top legal defenses by a doctor against a malpractice claim

The most common defense strategies are:

  • The absence of Causation
    The plaintiff must prove that the negligence caused the harm, i.e. if a doctor missed a serious condition during an examination, he did not cause the serious condition and cannot be held liable for the condition. If, however, the doctor prescribed the wrong dosage of a medication that kills the patient, he can be held liable if he could have foreseen, this would happen.
  • Rejection of Expert Testimony
    The Duty of Care obligation depends on reasonableness – as could be reasonably expected from his peers with the same qualifications, experience, and circumstances? Did he follow the latest Standards of Care and quality guidelines? Expert witnesses must meet these criteria, and past professional, personal or legal behavior can call their testimony into question.
  • Patient negligence
    Contributary negligence by the patient can nullify or reduce damages, even if the provider was negligent.
  • Best Judgement
    Medical practice is an art and a science, and while it can be very specific in most cases, in other’s the issues are so complex that the defendant has to use best judgement, and the outcome is a matter of probability.

If you feel you have been a victim of negligence medical negligence, seek assistance from an experienced malpractice attorney.

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