Understanding Professional Liability Disputes in Michigan

Licensed professionals in Michigan, such as nurses, doctors, engineers, architects, attorneys, and accountants, go to great lengths to obtain and maintain their credentials. However, specialized education and training requirements do not guarantee one of these professionals will never commit an error in their work. The grave reality is that mistakes are made every day, and even highly trained medical professionals can put lives at risk.

But a negative outcome does not always mean the professional acted negligently. As a result, what constitutes professional negligence and when a professional is liable for damages can be complex in Michigan. Here’s what you need to know.


Professional Liability in Injury Cases

In a typical personal injury or property damages case, a person is legally responsible for the harm they cause to another person or that person’s property if they act negligently and hurt the other person or that person’s property in the process. This means that a court must decide whether an action directly caused an injury and whether that action was negligent.

When a person sues a professional, the same principles apply. The injured party must show the professional acted negligently and that such conduct caused the injuries to their person or property. However, in these lawsuits, it is often more challenging for injured parties to prove negligence.


Why Professional Negligence Can Be Difficult to Prove

To show that a doctor, lawyer, or other professional committed a negligent act, an injured party must demonstrate that the professional did something that no other reasonable professional would have done under the same circumstances. If any similar professional might have chosen to do what the professional did, then there is no case for negligence.  We call this the standard of care.

For example, suppose that you are gravely ill, and your doctor elects a certain course of treatment. The treatment does not work as planned, and your illness worsens. Just because you sustained additional harm does not mean your doctor was negligent.

You would only have a viable claim for negligence if the doctor chose a course of treatment that no other reasonable doctor would have selected.


Factors Considered in a Professional Liability Dispute

Many factors may be considered when deciding whether a professional is liable for negligence, such as:

  • Their educational background and training
  • The number of years of experience they have
  • The resources of the facility or jurisdiction they work at
  • The availability of continuing education programs for the professional
  • Any local professional standards or norms that they are expected to follow

These factors can vary widely, depending on the field the professional is in and the unique circumstances of a case. For instance, the considerations for a case involving a medical professional would likely be different from those related to a case against an accountant.


Navigating Professional Liability Disputes in Michigan

Determining professional liability can be challenging in Michigan. While it is possible to hold negligent professionals like doctors and others accountable, doing so often involves a significant amount of investigation and extensive knowledge of liability law.

An experienced professional liability attorney can effectively navigate this complicated legal landscape and substantially improve your chance of succeeding with your claim.

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