Medical negligence is a type of legal claim involving injuries caused by a medical professional. This is a specific form of negligence; in order to prove medical negligence, it must be shown that the medical professional breached their duty of care to the patient; that the breach was the direct and actual cause of the patient’s injuries, and that the patient’s losses can be measured or calculated. Medical negligence is often the basis for many medical malpractice lawsuits.
In a medical negligence claim, many different parties can be held liable, such as a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or other hospital personnel. Some states place limits on the amount of damages that can be collected in a medical negligence claim. An example of medical negligence is where a surgeon fails to properly remove a foreign object from the patient’s body after the procedure.
What Are Some Medical Negligence Defenses?
Medical negligence can sometimes be challenging to prove because there are many different defenses that can be raised (depending on the facts of the case). Some medical negligence defenses can include:
- Patient negligence: some jurisdictions may limit (or altogether prohibit) a damages award if the patient’s own negligence caused or contributed to their injury
- No breach of duty: it may be a defense if the plaintiff cannot prove that the physician or doctor actually breached their duty of care. This can be an issue because different standards apply depending on the type of physician involved and their background experience levels
- Wrong party being sued: Likewise, negligence requires proof that the party in question was the cause of the damages. Here, if liability cannot be fully traced to the proper party, it can serve as a defense
- Uncertain damages: In order to prevent the filing of meaningless or frivolous lawsuits, courts require that the damages be calculable to a reasonable degree of certainty. If the damages can’t be calculated (for instance, of “pain” or other vague symptoms), then the court won’t issue a damages award
Thus, medical negligence defenses in a medical malpractice claim often depend on the way that the plaintiff presents their case to the court. If the patient is at all inaccurate or unclear about any aspect of their complaint, it will serious hamper their chances at legal recovery. Cases that are poorly filed may even be dismissed without the plaintiff getting a chance at seriously arguing their side.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Medical Negligence Defenses?
Part of succeeding on any lawsuit is being aware of any defenses that the other side might raise. If you need to file a claim form medical negligence, you may need to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer for advice and representation. Your attorney can explain how the medical malpractice laws in your area work, and can help determine if there are any defenses that you should anticipate for your case.