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What are some common defenses to medical malpractice?

People in Indiana rightfully expect to receive safe and effective medical care when they go to the doctor. After all, these medical professionals have years of education and on-the-job training, and most doctors have several years of experience tucked under their belt. Yet, no amount of education, training, or experience can fully prevent medical errors. Doctors and nurses work when they are tired and distracted, and sometimes they make mistakes that fall below the applicable standard of care. When this happens, a victim can be seriously injured or killed. Surviving family members of those lost in these incidences can pursue compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit, but they may be going up against a strong defense.

Therefore, these families may find it helpful to familiarize themselves with the defense options available to negligent doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Perhaps the most common defense is merely claiming that the care provided to the victim met the applicable standard of care. In these cases, the defense will try to rely on expert witnesses who will support their claim that, despite the outcome, the course of treatment was acceptable.

Another common medical malpractice defense is one that claims the victim himself was negligent in some way. The defense may claim that the victim failed to disclose pertinent medical history or allergies to certain medications, the knowledge of which would have caused the medical professional on trial to act differently.

Whether a defense uses one of these two approaches, or pursues another strategy, a plaintiff needs to be ready to fight back. Typically, an individual can anticipate the defense tactics that will be used, and he or she can tailor their legal arguments to poke holes in that defense. Of course, many Hoosiers find the assistance of an experienced attorney beneficial in these circumstances, as they can help utilize the law, the rules of evidence, and their experience to craft strong and compelling legal arguments that support a plaintiff's position.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Medical Malpractice," accessed on May 7, 2017

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