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The common defenses to medical malpractice

Receiving medical care should be, and often is, a great thing. Medical advances and continuous research has led to faster diagnoses, new treatment options, and quicker and more effective medical care overall. However, the field is still subject to human error. When a doctor or nurse makes a mistake, then what would otherwise be excellent medical care can turn into a living nightmare. Victims can be left with serious pain and suffering as well as extensive financial losses in the form of medical expenses and lost wages. Also, negligent medical care may lead to a worsened medical condition and even a decreased chance of survival.

Of course, these victims can seek to recover compensation for their damages by pursuing a medical malpractice claim, but these individuals often come face-to-face with aggressive defense attorneys. Therefore, it is wise to understand the potential defenses available in a medical malpractice case so that a victim can better prepare to circumvent them.

There are a number of defense options available to those accused of hospital negligence. First, and perhaps the most common, is merely trying to show that neglect did not occur. Here, the defense will try to poke holes in the plaintiff's attempts to prove the elements of neglect, including that the applicable standard of care was breached. Second, a defendant may try to raise a contributory negligence defense. Here, a defendant will state that the plaintiff is the one to blame for the injury, usually by trying to prove that the plaintiff withheld critical medical information or failed to abide by a doctor's orders.

A third defense option is that the claim was not brought forth in compliance with the statute of limitations. Medical malpractice victims only have a certain period of time during which they can file their lawsuit, and, if they fail to do so, then they are not allowed to pursue compensation.

Going head-to-head against a strong defense can jeopardize an individual's claim. Therefore, they may want to speak with an experienced attorney about the defenses they might face and how best to try to beat them.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Medical Malpractice," accessed on April 17, 2017

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