What Are Some of the Defenses in a Medical Malpractice Case?

September 25, 2020

Doctors aren’t supposed to make our injuries or illnesses worse. If they harm us because they were negligent, they should be held accountable. However, not every poor medical outcome is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. That’s why there are multiple defenses available to medical professionals accused of wrongdoing. If you believe you were harmed because of a healthcare provider’s negligence, you should expect the person you’re accusing to fight back. You will need an experienced, skilled Albany medical malpractice attorney to help you build a strong case. Let’s look at some of the defenses available to doctors and other medical professionals.

Standard Defenses to Negligence

In many personal injury cases, the defendant argues that they didn’t breach the expected duty of care. This defense can also be used in Georgia medical malpractice cases. In fact, it is one of the most common defenses. The doctor may argue that the care provided was in keeping with the standards set by the profession. Alternatively, they may say that your injuries weren’t caused by a medical error. Another possibility is that the doctor blames another entity for the harm you suffered. For example, they may argue that a piece of equipment malfunctioned because it was defective.

Contributory Negligence

Your doctor may argue that your negligence helped to cause your injuries. If they can prove that you wouldn’t have suffered harm if you didn’t commit a particular action or omission, they may have a valid defense. The doctor may try to show that you failed to follow their orders regarding treatment or you hid aspects of your medical history. You can still claim compensation if you were partly at fault for your injuries.

However, you must be less than 50 percent at fault to recover damages. Furthermore, the amount you get will be reduced by your share of fault. You should expect the doctor to try to put most of the blame on you. Medical malpractice lawyers in Georgia are always prepared for this defense.

Foreseeability

Doctors have a duty to protect their patients from risks that they know about beforehand. In defense against your malpractice claim, a medical professional may argue that your injuries were unforeseeable. They may say the side effect you experienced or the outcome of your procedure was so rare that no one could have foreseen it. Your lawyer would have to prove that other medical professionals in the same specialty would have acted differently.

The Respectable Minority Principle

Sometimes, doctors use new or unusual forms of treatment on patients. In such a case, they may not be able to argue that their actions were in keeping with the profession’s established standards. However, if the procedure results in harm, the doctor may argue that a respectable minority agrees with that line of treatment.

Assumed Risk

Many medical procedures come with some level of risk even if they’re relatively simple. That’s why healthcare professionals discuss known risks with patients and require that they give consent before they go ahead with certain procedures. This consent may have to be given in writing. The assumed risk defense is less common because the defendant would have to prove that you knew the potential risk and that you chose to accept it.

While patients may be aware of the dangers associated with a particular treatment, they aren’t always given multiple options from which to choose. If your doctor didn’t give you any alternatives, it would be hard for them to argue that you voluntarily assumed the risks. Also, if the doctor made an obvious mistake or was grossly negligent, this defense won’t hold up.

Good Samaritan Laws

Georgia’s Good Samaritan Law protects individuals who voluntarily render aid in an emergency situation. If you were involved in an accident and a doctor who was passing by stopped to help you, they would likely be protected from liability if you were injured. That being said, they still owe you the same duty of care that any reasonably competent doctor would under the same circumstances.

Contact Joe Durham Jr. P.C. Today to Discuss Your Case

If you accuse a doctor of malpractice, their insurance company and attorneys will do everything possible to get them off the hook. We’ve discussed only some of the potential defenses that they will try. If you want to get the compensation you deserve, you need to hire a Georgia medical malpractice attorney at the earliest opportunity. We’ll do everything we can to help you get full and fair compensation. Book a free consultation today.