In medical malpractice cases, it's often the medical provider who is accused of wrongdoing when they may not be to blame. Mistakes made by others could fall on them, or complications they could not imagine would occur could be used to claim errors happened when the reality was that the patient's complications were unpredictable based on the information that the provider had at that time.
There are many defenses for medical providers. Some include:
- Arguing that the standard of care was in line with the standards of the medical profession
- Disproving negligence by showing that the patient's injuries weren't a result of a medical error
- Showing that a patient's negligent act actually led to the injury
- Using Good Samaritan laws to shield the professional from accusations after coming to the aid of someone in medical distress
Other than proving that the patient was not a victim of negligence or errors, the statute of limitations may also be used to show that too much time has passed to allow for a medical malpractice case to be made against the medical professional. If that can be proven, the case may be dismissed by the court.
What can you do if a patient threatens you with a lawsuit?
If a patient threatens you with a lawsuit, it's a good idea to inform your attorney right away. It's easy for medical professionals to be accused of wrongdoing.
To start with, your attorney can review the case to determine if it has any merit. If the other party does have some supporting evidence that could result in a successful case, then the goal will be to minimize the chance of that success and to limit any award the patient receives. It will also be your attorney's goal to protect you and your medical license if an error did occur.
In many cases, medical malpractice cases are filed by those who do not realize that what they experienced was a complication instead of an error. Other times, patients make mistakes that harm their ability to heal well, like mixing medications or failing to listen to their doctor's orders.
In any situation, patients and medical providers can often eliminate conflict with an explanation of what happened. However, if that doesn't work, then your attorney will begin to help you build a case, so that you can protect yourself and the positive reputation that you've spent time building.