LIABILITIES UNDER MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE IN INDIA

  1. 1. Civil Liability
  2. 2. Criminal Liability

CIVIL LIABILITY - The civil law is the mainly covered under The Consumer Act, 1986 which holds the medical practitioner responsible for deficiency of services based upon the facts of the cases. The civil laws are award of damages to the patient or award of compensation to the patient by the court.

Civil Liability usually includes the claim for damages suffered in the form of compensation. if there is any breach of duty of care while operating or while the patient is under the supervision of the hospital or the medical professional they are held to be vicariously liable for such wrong committed. And are liable to pay damages in the form of compensation.

A Doctor can be held liable for negligence only if one can prove that she/he is guilty of a failure that no doctor with ordinary skills would be guilty of acting with reasonable care. In some situation senior doctors or the hospital authorities can also be vicariously held liable for the wrongs committed by the junior doctors. However, no human being is perfect and even the most renowned Specialist could make a mistake in detecting or diagnosing the true nature of a disease. If the doctor has adopted the right course of treatment, if he/she is skilled and has worked with a method and manner best suited to the patient, he/she cannot have blamed for negligence if the patient is not totally cured.

Doctor are not liable for their services individually or vicariously if they do not charge fees. Thus Free Treatment at a non-government hospital, government hospitals, health care centres and nursing homes would not be considered a “service” as defined in Section 2(1)(0) of the Consumer Protection Act,1986.

Criminal Liability - Criminal liability is the type of Legal Liability for Violations of the Law.  Such criminal liability cases convicted by the person has served his punishment. When the patient has died after the treatment and criminal case is filed under the section 304A of the IPC of Allegedly causing death by foolish or negligent act. All criminal legal consequences of criminal liability are removed after the criminal record is cancelled or cleared.

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