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Common medical malpractice defenses

It may difficult for a patient to bring a medical malpractice claim against a hospital or a physician. There are many elements that do not always favor an ailing patient, including the lack of money available to properly investigate the claim, the ambivalence in the justice system because of how long it may take, and the constant pain a malpractice victim may be in.

But even in the midst of bringing a malpractice claim, a plaintiff (or at least a plaintiff’s lawyer) must prepare for the various defenses a hospital, nurse or physician may bring. This post will identify a few of them. 

Disputes over standards – In order to prevail on a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must show that a physician’s or nurse’s actions fell below the standards expected of medical professionals in similar situations. As such, a defendant may argue that his or her actions fell squarely within the professional standards expected.

Contributory negligence – A defendant may also argue that the patient was equally liable for his or her condition because they did not follow the doctor’s recommendations once they are released from the hospital. Indeed, mistakes in hospital discharge orders can be a form of medical malpractice; but if a patient does not follow discharge orders, this can be considered contributory negligence.

Statute of limitations – The statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims commonly starts to run when a plaintiff discovers that they have been harmed. However, if a plaintiff did not bring suit within a certain amount of time, a defendant could claim that the lawsuit is “time-barred.”

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