What is Contributory Negligence?
Contributory negligence is used in medical malpractice and dental malpractice cases as a defense for doctors when the patient was partially at fault for their injury. Let's say that a patient is prescribed a certain medicine and the doctor advises not to mix with any other medications. If the patients fails to follow the doctor's prescribed plan and is injured as a result, the doctor could claim contributory negligence because the patient did not following their medical recommendation. The same would apply if a patient goes in for a cancer diagnosis and is found to be clean. If the doctor recommends that they come back for another screening six months down the road and the patient fails to do so, then they could be considered partially at fault if they are ever diagnosed with cancer down the road.
Let's say that you suffered a broken leg in a motorcycle accident and you go to the doctor to get it set. If the doctor told you to stay off of it and you turned around and tried to play a game of tackle football after two weeks, your leg would probably set crooked making you permanently impaired. If you were to file a malpractice claim against the doctor for setting your leg crooked, they could claim contributory negligence.
Effects of Contributory Negligence
Contributory negligence has a serious effect in medical malpractice cases because lawyers can use it against you as proof that your conduct, as the patient, seriously affected the outcome of your injury case. If the jury believes that you were 50% or more at fault for your injury, then you may end up being denied compensation. The worst case scenario is when a lawyer is able to establish that the patient was willfully negligent, the medical malpractice allegations could be dismissed altogether.
Medical malpractice accusations are only valid if the doctor failed to fulfill their duty to the patient by providing the expected standard of care. When you ignore the advice of their doctor or fail to abide by their doctor recommended treatment plan, then you may have trouble proving your malpractice claim. The court will be looking to see when your act of misconduct occurred in relation to the defendant's malpractice. If you provided the doctor with incorrect health history or your negligence occurred during the treatment or recovery period, it could affect your chances of recovering money for damages. However, if your misconduct occurred sometime after your treatment, your recovery may simply be reduced depending on the circumstances.
One important thing to remember is that you should always follow your physician's instructions so that you cannot be found partially at fault for any injury. Here at The Tolson Firm, LLC we are dedicated to serving medical malpractice victims and their families by helping them seek justice and compensation. If you are being accused of contributory negligence, our attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation of your claim and seek witness testimonies to support your case. We can help you dismiss any accusations of alleged fault so that you receive the restitution that you deserve. Our firm has over 16 years of experience of with medical malpractice cases and we have handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.
There are many complications that can arise during a medical malpractice case, including contributory negligence allegations. This is the main defense that medical professionals use to deflect liability and you should be prepared to combat this type of action. If you have been accused of contributory negligence, then contact an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer from our firm without delay.