The field of medicine is indeed a fulfilling course yet, at the same time, a dangerous practice. Here, you’re handling people’s bodies, and the issues are often internal. The medicines you prescribe or the surgeries will do can lead to chemicals interacting with body organs.
Adverse reactions to medications or injuries resulting from surgeries tend to happen. Since time immemorial, medical malpractices have been more common than ever. According to a study by the American Medical Association, 42% of doctors fell victim to malpractice claims at some point in their profession.
The same report indicated that 65% of medical malpractice lawsuits were dismissed or withdrawn. Hence, being sued for negligence does not imply that the doctor was at fault.
It also indicates that malpractice will not always result in the physician being held accountable. There are instances when someone else is responsible for the negligence, not the medical practitioner. So, not all medical-related injuries are associated with medics’ malpractices.
If you’ve been accused of medical malpractice that you believe wasn’t your fault, there are ways you and your lawyer could defend your case in court. Before we take a closer look at the defense strategies, let’s find out how the law deals with such negligence cases.
How Does the Law Deals With Medical Malpractices?
Lawfully, medical malpractice is considered a form of negligence. The allegation is usually that a medic made a mistake they could avoid. And the error resulted in a patient’s injury. A prosecutor is often required to prove the truth in these claims.
In such scenarios, a medic may get irritated and impatient. Thus, it might be hard to answer questions from those lawyers who perhaps do not have a deeper understanding of medical-related issues.
In such a dilemma, it helps to seek the intervention of a personal injury attorney to represent you in the case. Some regions have revised their codes on what constitutes medical malpractice. So, it’s necessary to check your state’s definition of professional negligence.
Let’s take the example of Washington D.C. There’s a revised chapter of the Washington section on what defines medical malpractice. These are elements of proof that a patient’s injury resulted from a health care professional’s negligence.
Washington D.C’s medical malpractice laws are usually complex. The codes need careful examination before building up a defense strategy. A skilled Washington accidents attorney can work best on your behalf to resolve your medical malpractice case successfully.
They understand the applicable laws best and know how to defend you around the legal codes.
Thus, as a medical practitioner caught up in such a scenario, it helps to seek the intervention of any personal injury attorneys in Kennewick to represent you in the case. The personal injury lawyer in Kennewick will examine your case to establish a smart defense technique to prove your innocence in the malpractice case.
Now, what are the defense strategies against medical malpractice that can work for your case?
1. Elimination of Damages
Think about this. You’re a medical practitioner. Let’s say you perform knee surgery on a patient to repair a torn cuff.
Perhaps the surgery was to take two hours, but you made a mistake during the surgery. Maybe the error attains the definition of medical negligence. So this causes the surgery to last about five hours.
The patient goes ahead to sue you for medical malpractice. Probably they claim that your mistake caused the patient’s limited mobility.
In such a case, you, the doctor, could admit your negligence. But, you can still win by having your knowledgeable attorney demonstrate that the patient experienced only minimal damages.
Thus, in such situations, a medical practitioner might ignore the fact that there was a mistake. Instead, the focus is directed entirely on whether the patient experienced any harm.
If there’s no significant harm evident to the patient, the personal injury lawyer can use this as a defense mechanism. As a result, the medic might have the case technically withdrawn and only pay minimal damages.
No matter how outrageous a doctor’s mistake is, the practitioner will only be accountable to the extent that the error caused the victim’s injury- assuming that punitive damages do not apply.
2. Lack of Causation
The defense can arise from a missed diagnosis. Here, the stated fact is that; the doctor failed to identify a hidden terminal condition. So, even if the medic had accurately diagnosed the patient, the death would have happened anyway.
You can probably state that there was no treatment that would have made the patient’s condition better or offered comfort. Thus, it can be possible to eliminate any causal connection between the doctor’s error and any harm that resulted from it.
For instance, the patient might have gone to the doctor complaining of migraines. The medic failed to spot any tell-tale symptoms and did not order further tests. Instead, the doctor only prescribed a painkiller. Later, it turned out that the patient had an advanced brain tumor case. Unfortunately, the patient dies shortly after.
In such a scenario, the patient’s family might hold the doctor liable for medical malpractice. They might argue that the medical professional was negligent and failed to diagnose the patient, who suffered harm (death).
Here, the doctor’s defense will be that the negligence did not result in any harm. Instead, the patient already had a long-standing and terminal form of brain tumor.
So, even if the medic managed to diagnose the patient, the death would still occur. Thus, the causative element is missing. In this case, you can let your personal injury attorney push hard for your win.
Remember that the deceased’s family could still argue that your failure to spot the problem worsened the patient’s health. But, with a knowledgeable attorney, you can have the case withdrawn.
3. Assumed Risk
As a medical practitioner, you’ll always give your patients as much information regarding their treatment options. Every procedure often comes with some risks, especially surgical ones.
So, once patients are aware of the available options and associated risks, it’s upon them to decide the kind of treatment they want to go through. Hence, if the patient was fully aware of the possibility of injury, it can be hard for them to justify that the doctor’s malpractice caused their injuries.
Thus, together with your injury lawyer, you can use this defense strategy. But, ensure you apply it only when the evidence is strong. Plaintiffs can claim that even though they knew of possible complications, they were unaware of other treatment options.
It’s essential to ensure that you continually give your patients different treatment remedies. By doing this, you allow them to make the most informed choice they can.
The truth is that most doctors have a calling in the profession and have deeper inspirations to help patients. This could explain why they take pride in their work.
Thus, facing a medical malpractice case can be an overly frustrating experience for a medical practitioner. This is in terms of their personal responsibility and job reputation.
However, when caught up in the malpractice dilemma, you must remain patient and let the lawsuit process work. Most of these cases may last anywhere between 2-5 years. Indeed, that can be an extended period for the malpractice claim to stick in your head.
But, there’s little you can do to quicken the process. Remember, your lawyer will also be fighting hard to ensure that your case draws to a successful end. So, it helps to follow the proper procedure and cooperate with your attorney to make things work for you.