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Standard Defenses Used in Medical Malpractice Trials

Jan 26, 2016 | Medical Malpractice

As malpractice cases can become complicated, it is good to know a little about how the courts work before embarking on a medical malpractice lawsuit. There is no substitute for a stellar medical malpractice attorney, but this article provides some useful information on the usual defense strategies used during medical malpractice trials.

A Medical Practitioner’s Defense

During a court trial, the most common defense that a doctor uses in his favor is that the delivered treatment was in line with standard of care, and the patient’s injuries were not the direct result of that treatment. This argument attempts to demolish the "negligence" claim made against the doctor. This is a standard defense used by the defendant in a malpractice trial.

Contributing Factors in Negligence Case

Many times, the doctors in a court trial will argue that certain factors outside the realm of medical treatment contributed to injuries to the patient. Such factors may be the patient’s own callous act, or a nurse’s negligent act, which may be skillfully used in a court trial by the defendant to shift the burden of negligence to someone else. Many times this strategy is used by a defendant to shift the burden of guilt.

The Principle of Respectable Minority

When a medical practitioner intentionally deviates from standard practice for good reasons, he can first try to build a strong support base by enlisting the support of a "respectable minority of medical professionals." If things go wrong and the patient pursues a medical malpractice case against the doctor, the doctor will have the benefit of the respectable minority support behind him.

In these circumstances, the standard practice is to discuss a new method of treatment or a new medication with the patient in great details and then getting a consent form signed by the patent before proceeding with the deviant procedure. For possible malpractice lawsuits, doctors should always document every stage of their treatment process carefully. This is another standard defense used by the defendant in a malpractice trial.

Emergency Medical Service Provided by Good Samaritans

During emergency situation, many doctors, nurses, or other healthcare professionals may come to the rescue of other people in distress. These good Samaritans, or medical professionals, are protected under Good Samaritan laws that absolve them of any civil liability if anything goes wrong during the rescue mission. However, a doctor providing voluntary service is governed by the "duty of care" as a doctor is providing a paid service. If a doctor in voluntary service is ever summoned in court, this will be his or her standard defense.

Statute of Limitations

Petitioners of medical malpractice cases should always investigate the maximum time period provided by state laws for filing a case. Gathering evidence, organizing the paperwork, and building a malpractice case may take months, so it is always good practice to know the available time limit at the outset, so that you can plan and proceed with the different stages of case building in a proficient manner.

It is expected that you as a plaintiff will hire a professional medical malpractice attorney to file a case, and that individual will guide you about all pertinent details. Still, for making the initial plans figuring out ways to acquire evidentiary materials from different sources, it may be good for you to have a clear idea of the Statute of Limitations operative in the state of New York. In order to protect plaintiffs, some states have adopted the "discovery rule," which states that the Statute of Limitations begins only after the patient discovers the injury.

RMFW Law is the Best Law Firm in NY

If you have a medical malpractice case facing you, then you may take what you learned in this article to an experienced medical malpractice law firm in New York Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280.

You never really pay us. The first meeting is free and when we settle, we only take a percentage. So in essence you really never pay us, you never write us a check. We have won millions of dollars for past clients. We have put many clients in a much better financial situation. You can be in this position, possibly. Just give us a call. If you have a viable case we will carry the legal torch for you all the way to the end.