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How medical malpractice cases can be defended

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about proving fault in a medical malpractice case. This isn't as simple as it sounds. Today, we're going to talk about the other end of the spectrum: how doctors and medical institutions can defend their cases and what tactics and strategies they use to succeed. It is necessary to know how both sides of the coin work when it comes to medical malpractice.

The first thing to realize is that medical malpractice is standard negligence. As we noted in that post from a few weeks ago, this means you need to prove negligence. But it also means that standard legal defenses to negligence apply. This means a doctor could argue that his or her actions and care were in line with medical standards if a medical malpractice case were brought. Similarly, contributory negligence defenses could be used. This means that the doctor would argue that the patient at least partially contributed to his or her injury or medical condition alleged in the lawsuit.

Another defense relates to emergency scenarios. Say you have a heart attack in a public space, and an off-duty doctor scrambles to help you. Well, if injuries are caused during this Good Samaritan act, then the doctor can't be held liable.

Last but not least: the statute of limitations. There are time limits on many crimes in every state, and when it comes to medical malpractice, the same principle applies. If you have been harmed by a medical mistake, make sure you are aware of the statute of limitations for your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Medical Malpractice," Accessed Dec. 15, 2016

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