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When to Sue a Pediatrician for Malpractice

There are fewer malpractice claims against pediatricians than any other specialty, according to a recent study. But that same study concluded that a higher percentage of pediatric claims went to trial. Perhaps that's because, pediatricians are tasked with providing medical care for our children, and their mistakes, though few, can be especially tragic. Here's what you need to know about pediatric care and the possibility of medical malpractice lawsuits. Malpractice Elements Doctors, like anyone else, can be held liable for injuries they cause. And while state laws may vary, most medical malpractice lawsuits are premised on four main elements: Duty: Pediatricians owe their patients a duty of care, to diagnose and treat ailments to the same ability of other pediatricians. Breach: They can breach that duty by failing to meet the standard of care, such as by misdiagnosing or mistreating their child patients. Causation: A child patient can be injured as the result of a pediatrician's breach of duty, and in court they must prove these injuries were the fault of the pediatrician, and not something else, and that the pediatrician could or should have foreseen those injuries. Damages: The child patient's injuries, like medical expenses, emotional distress, or other harm must be compensable by money damages in order to recover in court. If all of these elements are found, you likely have a strong claim for pediatric malpractice, though proving each element of a case can be complicated. Pediatrician Malpractice Claims A pediatrician could be liable for medical malpractice for failing to diagnose an illness or medical issue, for misdiagnosing an ailment, or for prescribing the wrong treatment. Pediatricians could also be held liable for the negligent prescription of a medication or medical devices if they ignored the manufacturer's instructions, or prescribe an incorrect medication or dosage. To find out if you can sue a pediatrician for malpractice, you may want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Related Resources: Does your child have an injury claim? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury) 5 Signs You May Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney (FindLaw's Injured) Top Reasons Doctors Get Sued for Malpractice (FindLaw's Injured) Should Doctors Have to Tell Patients If They're on Probation? (FindLaw's Injured)
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Tips for Defending Against a Frivolous Injury Lawsuit

You have been served with an injury lawsuit and from your point of view, it is a frivolous claim. But you still have to defend yourself. So how do you do that? Let’s take a quick look at negligence and how you defend it by negating the elements of the claim. Negligence, in Brief The elements of negligence are duty, breach, causation and harm (or injury). To defend against a claim of personal injury, you will have to negate an element of negligence. In brief, the plaintiff will argue that you owed them a duty of care, that you breached that duty, and that the breach caused a harm or injury which is compensable. Damages are only awarded if all of that can be shown. For the defendant, only one element must be disproven to defeat the case. How to Negate the Elements of the Frivolous Claim You need not negate every element and some might be impossible to disprove. Duty of care, for example, may be difficult to disapprove as the duty arises from a relationship — personal, professional, service, or other — and is likely the basis for your being named in the claim. Still, you might argue that you owed the plaintiff no duty of care. Whether that is plausible depends on the details of the case. If the person injured had only the most tangential relationship to you, perhaps you owed them no duty. A more likely argument is that you did not breach the duty of care. Even if you were in some sort of relationship with the plaintiff, you can still argue that you behaved as a reasonable person would under same or similar circumstances. In other words, you owed a duty and did not breach it. If you can show no breach, you have already succeeded — you cannot be held liable for an injury if you behaved as a reasonable person would under same or similar circumstances. The same principles apply to causation and harm. The plaintiff argues you caused the harm. You try to show that there were intervening causes that were not foreseeable or that you just did not cause it at all. Finally, you might argue that there was no injury or that the injury is not as severe as the plaintiff argues and that the damages sought far exceed actual harm. Talk to a Lawyer There is really no way around this. You need a lawyer. Although the injury claim may seem frivolous to you, lawsuits involve a lot of paperwork and deadlines and administration. You do not want to defend yourself alone and you should not try. If paying for defense counsel seems prohibitive, just contemplate paying damages. Plaintiffs Too The same advice goes for plaintiffs. You need representation. If you have been injured, consult with a personal injury attorney who will assess your claim for free. Related Resources: Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Meeting With an Injury Attorney (FindLaw) Fact Finding and Discovery (Findlaw)
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