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Are doctors liable for negligence in civil law?

We often witness cases where the doctor out of greed or with malafide intention killed the patient or was negligent while performing his duties. On the other hand, many doctors don’t charge any amount for their services. But no one knows which one is the doctor or the devil. The very second a patient consults doctor, the doctor is supposed to perform his duties such as –

  • His duty to decide whether he can undertake the case
  • His duty to take proper care and caution
  • His duty to decide what treatment should be give to the patient
  • His duty to make sure that treatment is administered to the patient.

But what happens when the doctor breach his duty ?

The doctor is punishable under Law of tort and Consumer Protection Act for civil negligence while he is punished under Indian Penal code for criminal negligence.

 

Punishment in Civil negligence

 

The doctor is liable to pay compensation in case of civil negligence. Basically civil negligence falls within the two – law of tort and Consumer Protection Act.

Law of tort 

When a complaint is filed, the plaintiff is required to pay a court fee which is usually the 10% of the amount claimed by the complainant along with other expenses such as miscellaneous expenses including lawyers’ fee.

Consumer Protection Act

Under this, the plaintiff is not required to pay court fees or miscellaneous expenses including lawyers’ fees. He would be liable to pay the compensation.

 

Indian Medical Association v. VP Shantha

 

In this case, the Apex Court defined the Parameters to be followed by professionals of allopathic and homeopathic doctors. They defined the rights and obligations of medical systems. In addition, it was held that Medical professions come under the ambit of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, it doesn’t matter whether they are private doctor or government doctor working in hospitals.

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