Doctor’s liability in medical negligence cases


June 25, 2019
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty



Medical malpractice and negligence is a special kind of personal injury case brought against hospitals, Doctors, nurses or other medical professionals. Medical negligence arises from an act or omission by a medical practitioner, which no reasonably competent and careful practitioner would have committed.

Those who suffer from a medical malpractice injury may be able to hold the medical care provider(s) responsible for that injury liable under the special rules that apply to this type of professional negligence.

Connect with an expert lawyer for your legal issue
 

Liability under the Consumer Protection Act

The Supreme Court decision in Indian Medical Association v VP Shantha brought the medical profession within the ambit of a 'service' as defined in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This transformed the relationship between patients and medical professionals as contractual. Patients who had sustained injuries in the course of treatment could now sue doctors in 'procedure-free' consumer protection courts for compensation.

The Consumer Protection Act will not come to the rescue of patients if the service is rendered free of charge, or if they have paid only a nominal registration fee. However, if patients' charges are waived because of their incapacity to pay, they are considered to be consumers and can sue under the Consumer Protection Act.
 

Liability under tort law

Where the Consumer Protection Act ends, the law of torts takes over and protects the interests of patients. This applies even if medical professionals provide free services.

The onus is on the patient to prove that the doctor was negligent and that the injury was a consequence of the doctor's negligence. Such cases of negligence may include transfusion of blood of incorrect blood groups, leaving a mop in the patient's abdomen after operating, unsuccessful sterilisation resulting in the birth of a child etc.

Consult: Top Medical Negligence Lawyers in India
 

Liability under criminal law

 A doctor can be punished under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for causing death by a rash or negligent act, say in a case where the death of a patient is caused during operation by a doctor not qualified to operate. The standard of negligence required to be proved against a doctor in cases of criminal negligence (especially that under Section 304A of the IPC) should be so high that it can be described as 'gross negligence' or 'recklessness', not merely lack of necessary care. Criminal liability will not be attracted if the patient dies due to an error in judgment or accident.

A doctor can also be punished for causing hurt or grievous hurt under the IPC. However, Sections 87, 88, 89 and 92 of the IPC provide immunity from criminal prosecutions to doctors who act in good faith and for the patient's benefit. 



 

These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.


Googling your legal issue online?

The internet is not a lawyer and neither are you.
Talk to a real lawyer about your legal issue.

Popular Medical Negligence Lawyers


Advocate Sunil Kumar Bakshi
Sector-16, Faridabad
32 years Experience
Advocate J. P. Rinwa
Swej Farm, Sodala, Jaipur
18 years Experience
Advocate Bala Janaki
330 Thambuchetty Street, Chennai
34 years Experience
Advocate Barkha Bhalla
Banjara Hills, Hyderabad
16 years Experience

Related Articles


Connect with top Medical Negligence lawyers for your specific issue

Medical Negligence Law Articles


Law on Medical Negligence in India: How and when to file a case

All you need to know about Surrogacy Law in India

How to claim compensation in medical negligence cases

The Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970

User Reviews


4.7 - 18 reviews
P
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

who can I contact for my legal case?

Prabhakar on Oct 31, 2019
S
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

thanks for the legal advice

Sangeeta on Nov 15, 2019
P
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

thank you for the article

Parul on Oct 04, 2019
M
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

nicely written

Manpreet on Oct 19, 2019
K
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

how to contact a lawyer?

Kamal on Oct 05, 2019
N
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

it’s a very nice legal article

Narendra on Nov 02, 2019
B
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

solved my queries.

Bhushan on Oct 25, 2019
M
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

needed a lawyer….what is the procedure?

Monica on Oct 15, 2019
P
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

loved the way concept is explained. Nicely written for any layman to understand.

Pradeep on Oct 28, 2019
S
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

excellent article. Very informative

Shailesh on Oct 13, 2019
P
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

very detailed and informative

Pranav on Nov 12, 2019
A
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

Nice piece on the subject.

Akhil on Oct 19, 2019
M
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

nice artcile

Mukesh on Nov 12, 2019
N
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

very good article. Can you tell me more about the law?

Nilesh on Oct 10, 2019
G
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

great advice. Thanks

Gaurav on Oct 22, 2019
A
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

Good work with the article.

Ashwani on Nov 05, 2019
R
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

nice one. Please share more info

Rashi on Nov 05, 2019
S
LawRatoLawRatoLawRatoLawRato

Had a good time reading the article.

Simran on Oct 06, 2019

VIEW ALL