As I have said before, a jury trial is about assigning blame. The three suspects are the plaintiff, defendant, or “it happens.” Defense lawyers’ preference is being able to blame the plaintiff.
In medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff often makes choices that put them in the spot of needing treatment or surgery.
The most classic case is a lung cancer misdiagnosis case where the plaintiff smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. Yes, the guy got cancer because he smoked. But that does not relieve the doctor of the obligation to see what is there to be seen and uncover his lung cancer if there are signs and symptoms that are there to have been seen. In Barbosa v. Osbourne, the Maryland Court of Appeals took a more nuanced look at when contributory negligence can be applied to medical negligence cases.