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Common defenses to medical malpractice claims

Although most Michigan medical malpractice cases result in settlement, those who have been harmed by hospital negligence need to be prepared to take a case to trial in the event that settlement cannot be reached. By having one's case prepared for litigation, a victim may also give himself or herself more bargaining power at the negotiation table, which can thereby increase the chances that resolution can be reached. While a victim will obviously need to be prepared to present facts to support his or her claim, it is also imperative to anticipate any potential defenses that may be raised so that they can be effectively countered.

There are some common medical malpractice defenses that are worth considering when preparing one's case. The most obvious defense is for a doctor to claim that he or she adhered to acceptable standards of care. In other words, they will claim that they were not negligent in caring for the victim. Here, a plaintiff will just need to be sure to put forth enough evidence to overcome that argument.

But, that is not the only defense available in these cases. Another option is for doctors to claim that, even though the treatment provided may not have fallen in line with mainstream practices, there is support for the given treatment from a respectable minority of professionals in the field. In order for this defense to work, however, a doctor must have obtained informed consent from the patient before moving forward.

Other defenses exist that victims need to be prepared to push back against. Some doctors and hospitals may claim that the victim's own negligence contributed to the harm suffered, while others may try to argue that the statute of limitations has run, thereby barring any claims. All of this means that medical malpractice victims need to be thoroughly prepared before moving forward with settlement negotiations and litigation. This often means having a competent legal ally on one's side.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC
3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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