You’ve worked hard to get where you are. Now you’re being accused of malpractice. The mere allegations of professional wrongdoing are probably enough to set you on edge, but the real possibility of a financial judgment against you and devastating harm to your reputation and professional career can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there may be steps that you can take to protect yourself when facing claims of professional malpractice.
Defenses to professional malpractice
The specific defense that you utilize in your malpractice case may depend, at least in part, on your profession. However, there are some standard tactics that you may be able to deploy regardless of your profession. Let’s look at just a few of them.
- Assess the applicable standard of care: Professional malpractice cases are professional negligence cases. Just like in other negligence cases, then, the plaintiff typically has to prove that you failed to act with reasonable care under the circumstances. Therefore, you’ll want to carefully analyze what the applicable standard of care is in your profession as well as what a reasonable person in your field would have done under similar circumstances. Expert witnesses can prove helpful here. Remember, you’re not held to a standard of perfection.
- The scope of employment: Malpractice claims differ from breach of contract, but the two issues can overlap to a certain extent. When faced with claims of malpractice, you may want to turn to the contract that is in place or to an existing engagement letter to see what scope of work was agreed upon. This may show that the malpractice that is being claimed doesn’t hold water because the work in question was never agreed to in the first place.
- Causation: Even if someone shows that you didn’t live up to the applicable standard of care, they can only recover compensation if they can show that that breach of the standard of care actually caused damages. In other words, there needs to be a direct link between the breach of care and financial losses. Here, you may be able to look to outside factors that may have contributed to the harm in question in order to limit or eliminate your liability.
Know how to best protect your future
There’s a lot at stake in a professional malpractice case, and the defenses identified above are just a few that may be at your disposal. If you’d like to learn more about your defense options and how best to utilize them to your advantage, then please consider discussing your case with a legal team that is experienced in handling these matters.