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Defenses doctors may use in medical malpractice claims

Patients who suffered injuries or illness due to a physician's negligence or error may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent physician and the hospital where they were treated. If you decide to ask an attorney to handle your case, your attorney will collect evidence to attempt to prove that your doctor did not adhere to the accepted standard of care and that the negligence caused you harm.

As you and your attorney build your medical malpractice case, you should also consider the defenses your doctor and hospital may use to refute your claims. Preparing for the most common defenses will help strengthen your case and give you a better chance at financial recovery.

One of the most common defenses used in medical malpractice lawsuits is that your physician did adhere to the appropriate medical standard when treating you. Your physician may also argue that the injuries you experienced were not caused by medical negligence. In many cases, your physician may ask experts, or other doctors in the same field of medicine, to take the stand and testify in support of your doctor's actions. Your attorney will also present experts to testify against your doctor's actions.

Another common argument is that the patient was negligent and that the patient's injury would not have occurred had it not been for that negligence. The physician may argue that the patient failed to take medication as prescribed, failed to inform the doctor of their family history or failed to visit the doctor in a timely fashion. Your attorney, however, may work to show that the doctor's negligence was the sole cause of your injuries.

As you and your attorney work to establish medical malpractice, it is important be aware of the most common defenses used by physicians in these cases and present evidence to poke holes in their arguments.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Medical Malpractice," accessed on April 23, 2018

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