Defenses Against Medical Malpractice Claims

If you are a medical professional facing accusations of medical malpractice, you probably understand the severity of your situation. When your career is at stake, it is important you hire an experienced attorney who will fight tooth-and-nail for your livelihood. We know the potentially detrimental effect an accusation of medical malpractice may have on your career, so please do not hesitate to contact us. If your patient is accusing you of medical malpractice, here are some questions you may have:

What is the standard to qualify for medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice cases are essentially based on whether or not you as a medical professional violated what is known as the standard of care. This means that you did not provide a level of care consistent with what the regulations demand. Additionally, if your medical negligence led to your patient sustaining an injury that resulted in significant damages, your case may qualify as medical malpractice. Here are some examples of medical malpractice:

  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnoses
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failure to order proper testing
  • Failure to recognize symptoms
  • Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Premature discharge
  • Hospital infections
  • Surgical errors 
  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Improper medication or dosage
  • Poor follow-up or aftercare

If your patient is accusing you of taking one or more of these negligent actions, you may be facing some very harsh penalties. This is why you must contact a knowledgeable attorney who knows the best defenses against medical malpractice claims as soon as possible.

What are some defenses to medical malpractice claims?

Since medical malpractice is a form of negligence, most of the defenses against general negligence still apply when fighting medical malpractice claims. Therefore, disproving elements of negligence is one of the most common defenses against these claims. However, there are a few other defenses against these claims, and they are as follows: 

  • Contributory Negligence: Essentially, if you are able to prove that your patient would not have sustained the injury in question if it weren’t for a negligent act on his or her part, then you may be able to win your case. If a patient fails to disclose key elements of his or her medical condition or history and is injured as a result, this would most likely debunk their claim of medical malpractice, as they were at least partially responsible for the injuries they sustained.
  • Respectable Minority Principle: If you were treating a patient and felt it was time to move on to a more drastic or radical form of treatment, this may open you up to medical malpractice claims if your patient is injured at some point in the process. However, if a respectable minority of medical professionals supports the line of treatment you prescribed, you may have a valid defense against such claims. However, you should understand that before beginning such treatments, you must always inform your patient of the potential risks involved.
  • Good Samaritan Laws: If you are a doctor and come to someone’s aid in an emergency situation, you will most likely be protected from civil liability in the event of an injury during the rescue. All 50 states have some sort of Good Samaritan law in place.
  • Statute of Limitations: There is a time limit on when an action can be brought for medical malpractice. In New York, this is generally 3 years. If you can prove that your patient discovered his or her injury at any point after that statute of limitations has since run, the case may be dismissed.

Contact our New York firm

When a medical professional is accused of misconduct, it is essential that they retain strong legal representation. If you require a medical law attorney for your legal matters, call Paul E. Walker, an experienced New York City OPMC & OPD Lawyer. Please contact the Walker Medical Law firm to set up a free initial consultation.