Medical malpractice can be devastating. When a patient is harmed by the actions or negligence of their healthcare provider, they may file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. However, medical providers have several defenses to protect themselves from liability in these cases.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common defenses used in medical malpractice claims and how they may impact the outcome of a case. Victims need a medical malpractice lawyer in Albany, Georgia who understands these possible defenses and can combat them to win the justice they deserve.
Defenses to Negligence
Negligence is the basis for medical malpractice claims. To prove negligence, it must be shown that the healthcare provider failed to provide a reasonable standard of care, resulting in harm or injury to the patient.
To determine whether a healthcare provider was negligent, several factors are considered. These may include the degree of skill and knowledge expected from a competent professional in their field and any relevant guidelines or protocols specific to the case at hand.
As a defense, a doctor could argue that his/her actions meet the standards expected of a medical professional. Another defense is that the injury was not caused by a medical error.
Proving negligence can be challenging since medical providers often have extensive training and experience. It’s important to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney who knows how to win these types of cases.
Assumption of Risk & Informed Consent
Assumption of risk refers to a legal defense that can be used by medical professionals facing malpractice claims. Essentially, this argument asserts that the patient knew or should have known about the risks involved in a treatment or procedure and still chose to proceed.
This defense is often used when patients knowingly consent to risky surgeries or experimental treatments. By consenting to these procedures, they are assuming some level of risk and accepting responsibility for any negative outcomes that may occur.
For example, if a patient consents to an invasive surgical procedure despite being informed of potential complications, they cannot turn around and sue their doctor for malpractice if those complications arise.
For the assumption of risk defense to be valid, the patient must have given informed consent. This means the patient must have the capacity to understand and make decisions about their health. They must also receive adequate information from their healthcare provider and give their voluntary agreement without coercion.
If these conditions are not met, then it may be possible for the patient to argue that they did not give truly informed consent. This could result in damages being awarded against the healthcare provider.
The Respectable Minority Principle
Sometimes medical professionals offer patients a newer or more radical treatment option, such as an experimental cancer treatment. A doctor could have a valid defense in a medical malpractice case if a respectable minority of medical professionals supports the treatment and the patient gave informed consent.
Defenses to Vicarious Liability
Vicarious liability is a legal concept that holds one person responsible for the actions of another. In medical malpractice cases, this means holding an employer liable for the negligent actions of their employees.
For example, if a surgeon employed by a hospital makes an error during surgery and causes harm to the patient, the hospital may be held vicariously liable for the surgeon’s actions.
However, certain conditions must be met for vicarious liability to apply. The employee must have acted within the scope of their employment at the time of the incident, and there must be a direct relationship between their job duties and the harm caused.
A hospital may try to argue a doctor was not an employee, but an independent contractor. Understanding vicarious liability is crucial in determining who may be held responsible for medical malpractice incidents involving healthcare professionals employed by larger organizations.
Comparative fault is a defense that can be used in medical malpractice claims. This defense asserts that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to their injuries or damages; thus, they should bear some responsibility.
For example, if a patient fails to follow post-operative instructions given by their doctor and experiences complications. As a result, they may have contributed to their injuries.
Georgia’s comparative negligence law allows a plaintiff to recover compensation as long as he or she is less than 50% responsible. Damages awarded to the plaintiff will be reduced based on their level of fault.
It’s important to note that this defense does not absolve healthcare providers from liability for any negligent actions or omissions on their part. It simply allows for assessing both parties’ negligence when determining compensation.
If you believe you are being accused of comparative fault in your medical malpractice case, it’s crucial to contact an experienced attorney who can help defend your rights and interests in court.
Contact One of Our Albany Medical Malpractice Attorneys. We Are Here For You
If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You may obtain compensation for your injuries and losses with the right legal representation.
At Joe Durham, we have a team of skilled attorneys dedicated to helping victims of medical negligence. We understand this is a difficult time for you and your family, so we offer compassionate yet aggressive representation.
If you need help with your medical malpractice claim, do not hesitate to contact us today at (229) 351-5320. We are here for you and ready to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.