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What Is the Role of Contributory Negligence in Malpractice Cases?


When a plaintiff files a medical lawsuit in Annapolis, MD, one strategy the defendant may use is to argue that contributory negligence played a role. Contributory negligence simply means that although the defendant may have been largely to blame for the personal injury, the plaintiff also shares some of the responsibility. This is often easiest to define in auto accident cases, such as when the plaintiff may have been speeding when the defendant struck his or her car. However, contributory negligence can also play a role in medical negligence cases .

For example, in a medical negligence case that charges the doctor with failure to diagnose, the doctor may have recommended a particular medical test to the patient and the patient may have failed to undergo the test. The patient’s failure to comply with the doctor’s instructions could comprise contributory negligence. Similarly, a patient may be placed on a new medication and given specific instructions to take the drug with food. If the plaintiff takes the drug on an empty stomach and then suffers abdominal pain, this could be due to contributory negligence.