When a medical malpractice claim is presented, it is usually a one-sided case because if a patient brought on a medical malpractice lawsuit, that must mean that the medical professional was negligent and that they were the cause of the patient’s injuries. While this evidence must be present in order to file a lawsuit, there are certain medical malpractice cases that can derive from the patient’s own doing, which refers to contributory negligence (contributing to the negligence).
When a patient can be at fault for their own personal injury, the defense will use contributory negligence. Even though medical professionals require a high level of care to their patients, the patient is also responsible for certain matters about their own health. For example, when a doctor asks a patient about their medical history, the patient has to ensure that they tell their physician about their full medical history. If they omit anything, that one thing could be the cause for the doctor prescribing a wrong medication. In that case, the patient would have contributed to their own harm because the patient did not disclose every aspect of their medical history. The lack of information provided to the doctor was what caused him or her to be negligence in their care.
Physicians tend to emphasize the need to learn the full medical history of a patient no matter how irrelevant the person may think an operation or reaction that they underwent is. When a patient does not disclose every detail of their medical history, this can not only affect their future treatment, but it can also be deadly. If a doctor is unaware of a reaction that a patient has when taking a certain medication, that same doctor could prescribe that medication at a high dose, unknowingly, and possibility being the cause of the patient’s death. In that case, the doctor would not be found liable for a wrongful death.
Another great example of contributory negligence is after a patient has undergone a surgery and the physician instructs them on what they can do and what they cannot do. If the patient does not follow these rules they can seriously harm themselves. For example, a woman who undergoes a C-section is instructed to not lift more than the weight of her baby for at least 6 weeks. If the pregnant woman starts lifting her 4-year old son and suddenly has her wound open which leads to an infection, the doctor would not be found liable for that infection. The mother has a duty to ensure that she would not lift more weight than her baby.
There is a defendant and a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit. While more emphasis is placed on the plaintiff party, the defendant is as equally as important because the plaintiff could have contributed to their own harm.
Unsure Whether You Contributed to Your Medical Malpractice?
A skilled medical malpractice lawyer in Miami can advise their client on what do if there is presence of contributory negligence. The objective is to see whether a case can be established.