The Top 5 Defenses to Halifax, Nova Scotia Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims often involve complicated questions about medical science and technology, standards of care, and risk assessment. When pursuing a claim for compensation, it is important to hire a lawyer who understands these issues and who has a firm grasp on concepts of anatomy and other areas of medical practice. In order to effectively evaluate and pursue your malpractice claim, your lawyer will need to be able to speak doctors’ language and assess both the extent of your harm and the quality of your care.
Common Defenses to Medical Malpractice Liability
Winning a medical malpractice claim also requires thorough knowledge of the arguments that doctors, hospitals, and their defense lawyers will use in order to try to avoid responsibility for your injuries and losses. Being able to anticipate the other side’s arguments is key to overcoming them. In medical malpractice cases, the five most common defenses are:
Defense # 1: Lack of Foreseeability
Doctors in Canada are responsible for protecting patients from risks they can see or know about beforehand. In legal terminology, they are required to help patients avoid illnesses and injuries that are “foreseeable.” In your medical malpractice case, the defense lawyers may try to argue that your condition was not a foreseeable consequence of the treatment your doctor provided.
As an example, we represented a client who suffered serious injuries as a result of side effects from a medication he received from his doctor. The doctor’s lawyers argued that the side effects our client experienced were so rare that they could not be considered “foreseeable” consequences of his prescription.
Defense # 2: The Patient Caused the Injury
In some malpractice cases, doctors will claim that the patient’s condition resulted from his or her failure to follow sound medical advice. For example, in one case we reviewed, the patient failed to attend his appointment for a chest x-ray and eventually passed away from undiagnosed lung cancer. This is a situation where the doctor’s lawyers would likely argue that, tragically, the patient was to blame for his own condition.
Defense # 3: The Patient Gave Informed Consent
If a doctor explains all of the risks of a course of treatment or procedure to a patient and the patient assumes those risks, the doctor is not responsible if one of the risks ultimately leads to an injury. Doctors seeking to avoid liability in medical malpractice cases will often argue that the patient’s condition was a recognized risk of the care provided, and that the patient gave informed consent with full knowledge of the potential harm.
Defense #4: Someone Else Did It
In some cases, doctors will argue that someone else is responsible for the patient’s illness or injury. For example, in one case we handled, the doctor argued that the hospital’s faulty medical equipment – rather than the doctor’s negligent care – was to blame for our client’s serious brain injury.
Defense #5: The Patient Had a Pre-Existing Injury
Finally, the fifth most common defense in medical malpractice claims is that the patient had a pre-existing injury. With this defense, the doctor’s lawyers will argue that the patient’s injuries are not the result of negligent care, but rather a product of a prior illness or condition. For example, if a patient claims that he or she suffered back injuries due to negligent medical treatment, defense lawyers may seek to prove that the injuries are actually the result of pre-existing arthritis.
Health Scare: The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims
For more information about seeking compensation for medical malpractice in Canada, call our offices to request your free copy of Health Scare: The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims. This valuable book explains everything you need to know if you think that you or a family member may be a victim of medical malpractice.
McKiggan Hebert Lawyers | Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Halifax, Nova Scotia
McKiggan Hebert Lawyers’s lawyers have decades of experience helping victims of medical malpractice in Atlantic Canada. If you believe that you or a loved one may suffering due to a doctor’s mistake, we encourage you to contact us right away. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation about your medical malpractice claim, call (902) 423-2050 or submit our online form now.