What is the Strongest Defense Against Negligence By a Doctor?
When you or a loved one is the victim of medical negligence, your whole life can be turned around. Victims of medical negligence may never be able to live exactly the same as they did before the incident, whereas the medical professional involved can be completely unaffected. In fact, medical negligence is a normal part of working in the medical field, especially depending on what type of medicine a person practices. Because of this, many doctors are prepared to defend themselves before negligence even occurs.
In medical negligence cases, there are a few different defenses that are used. These defenses can be used even when it’s proven that medical negligence occurred. Here are a few of the strongest defenses that can be used to help defend doctors.
Even if they’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, patients are expected to make efforts to limit the damages they’ve faced. This is the same even in personal injury cases. When receiving medical treatment, doctors frequently give their patients rules and guidelines to follow to help keep themselves healthy. If patients are given explicit rules from their doctor and choose not to follow them, doctors can’t be held accountable for any damages that may have come from it. Although the doctor may have been the cause of some of the damages they’ve faced, they may use the defense that the patient brought on many of the damages themselves. This can reduce the amount of compensation that a victim is owed.
Respectable Minority Principle
For many different health concerns, there are favored treatments and procedures that are the standard way of going things. However, not every health problem has an accepted treatment that’s effective. Because of this, some doctors may choose to provide their patients with treatments that aren’t widely used. In addition, they may also decide to use treatments and procedures that are a higher risk. Although these are high risk, they could be a patient’s best chance of receiving effective treatment. Choosing to do a riskier procedure that isn’t typically recommended doesn’t necessarily mean that the doctor was negligent if problems arise. These procedures need to be backed by a respectable minority of medical professionals who can defend the treatment. However, patients always need to be informed about the risks that they’re taking and consent before their doctor can begin treating them.
Absence of Causation
In some cases, a doctor can act negligently and a patient might face damages, but they aren’t always caused by the doctor’s actions. There are times when a patient would have had these damages regardless of what the doctor did. This can be seen at times when a doctor misdiagnosed a patient. The patient might have more complications due to their condition or pass away from it, but occasionally a diagnosis wouldn’t have helped. Doctors aren’t always able to provide a treatment that can heal patients, so the end result would be the same regardless of whether or not they were diagnosed.
Statute of Limitations
The time when victims notice medical malpractice has occurred can vary from person to person. While each person’s case is different, they must adhere to the statute of limitations for medical negligence claims. In many states, the statute of limitations to report medical negligence is around two years from the time the event took place. However, many victims don’t realize right away what has happened to them. Some might not realize until two years after the initial date that they may have been the victim of medical negligence. Because of this, the deadline can be extended so that the statute of limitations begins two years after someone should have realized they’ve been the victim of medical negligence to report it. Doctors may argue that a victim would have realized that medical negligence occurred long before they reported on it. Even if medical negligence can be proven, the statute of limitations has passed.
Good Samaritan Laws
If you’re out when a medical emergency happens, you hope that help is able to arrive quickly. In what seems like the best-case scenario, there may be a medical professional in the vicinity who is off-duty but offers to help. Occasionally when this happens, mistakes might be made that leave the victim with complications. Good Samaritan laws may be used to defend doctors in what would otherwise be classified as medical negligence. Since it was an emergency situation and it wasn’t the doctor’s responsibility to treat the person, it can be said that they had a duty of care. While doctors have more protection when they’re acting as good Samaritans, they still need to provide the same level of care that any other competent medical professional in that situation would.