As a doctor in the US, there’s a good chance you may have faced a medical lawsuit. According to Medscape, more than half of American Physicians experienced more than one lawsuit in 2017. Despite how common these cases are, they are still bad for your reputation and disrupt the sanctity of the hospital you work for. Not every claim is authentic, and some patients may falsely accuse you of neglect you never did.
Likewise, not every action comes under the banner of medical malpractice. If a patient doesn’t listen, trips while walking, or may have a minimal chance of survival, there is nothing you can do. So when you’re faced with a lawsuit, you must prove your innocence. To deal with any malpractice, here’s what you need to do:
What Is A Standard Malpractice Case?
Patients put a medical malpractice claim forward to suggest a doctor violated standard care protocols. So, if you, as a patient, are suing a doctor, you are using legal jargon to state that the doctor messed up your case. Consequently, you may sustain injuries, some of which can be life-threatening. Similarly, you can file a claim on behalf of a loved one who has been through the same predicament. For instance, your child getting injured during birth may cause permeant disabilities, temporary wounds, or can be fatal.
Cerebral palsy is one such injury. If the doctor in charge uses an unnatural amount of force to clamp down on your child during birth, it can cause nerve damage. This condition is challenging to live with and may require lifelong treatments, therapy, and drastic lifestyle change. You may set a cerebral palsy medical malpractice claim into motion by contacting a legal expert. Through this legal intervention, you can take the medical practitioners in charge of your child’s birth to the court, prove their misconduct and get your rightful due in a settlement.
How Do Doctors Fight Medical Lawsuits?
The bottom line of every lawsuit is to prove your negligence. So if you failed to diagnose, conducted the wrong diagnosis, overdosed on the patient, performed unneeded surgeries, or did not recognize the patient’s symptoms, you have to go through a lawsuit. But, if you treated the patient with the utmost professionalism and did what was needed to help, you shouldn’t be afraid. You can easily challenge a claim and prove your innocence. Here are some ways you can justify yourself in court:
- Remain Calm
Getting a lawsuit is no walk in the park. But, getting served doesn’t mean you committed medical malpractice. Before you get worked up and contact your attorney, you need to stay calm. Make sense of the claim before you, and gauge the patient’s angle. It would help if you also understood that lawsuits are an extensive process that can take up to two to five years before they get settled. So your anger and anxiety about getting the lawsuit over will not help.
- Answer All The Questions
Before starting a legal case, you will have to go through many questions to understand your role in the lawsuit. If you have medical malpractice insurance, they will handle most of the suit and keep you on the sidelines by speaking to the lawyer directly. You will still need to answer some questions relevant to the case, and lying or trying to sidestep is not good. Your insurance company will ask you questions on the case. So you will need to include the patient’s details, the treatment administered, and the outcome. You will also need to submit the treatment and patient charts since memory alone cannot serve as evidence.
The prosecutor will also need a deposition from you. So under the surveillance of a judge in a conference room, you will testify under oath and answer questions the other party asks about the case. Don’t try to evade questions, and if you don’t remember details, don’t make up a story. You can get sued for presenting false information. This is also perjury to provide details that never happened to sway the outcome of your case.
- Use The Good Samaritan Law
During an emergency across all fifty states, you’re allowed to administer procedures and help a collapsing patient. However, despite your efforts, if a patient still passes away, you can use the Good Samaritan law, which bypasses any lawsuit against you on against malpractice and civil liability. You need to prove that you were facing a crisis and explain the patient’s health and how you administered the proper care.
- Reject The Expert Testimony
In court, you can argue that the plaintiff filing against you has no knowledge or experience with medical procedures. You can illustrate this by walking the court on the nuances of complicated medicine by discussing details only experienced doctors may know. So by showing that the plaintiff has a very limiting understanding, you can reject the testimony that the plaintiff presents.
- Challenge the Evidence
You can counteract the plaintiff’s claims by showcasing they have no evidence or damages on their body that can constitute this case as genuine. Emotional damages are hard to prove, and quantifying them requires reports from therapists and counselors. But if a plaintiff has nothing to show, including injuries, reports from mental health specialists, or the harm is not substantial, the claim can get pushed aside.
- Getting The Hospital To Intervene
A hospital can step in for you and claim that the case is not valid. They can take many stances to prove their point. These include the absence of causation, which states that the patient could not survive no matter what the doctor could do. However, you should save this move as a last resort since hospitals will try to shift the blame on you, and that could cost you the trial.
Doctors fight numerous legal cases throughout the year. This is because patients always have a reason to press charges even if there is no neglect. Getting sued should not bother you if you’re sure you did what you could. Instead, gear up for court by making sure you have the patience to let the case unfold, get your deposition recorded, and head to trial. While you’re being cross-examined, you can show the case was an emergency and required drastic measures, reject the evidence and testimony or get the hospital to intervene. With these notions, you should have no trouble winning the case.
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