How Medical License Defense Differs From Other Legal Issues

If you're going to need to hire a medical license defense attorney, you're also likely wondering what you're going to be up against. Before you move ahead with a defense, it's wise to understand how this branch of law differs from others you might know.

Beyond Legal Liability

Generally, legal liability in the medical field falls into the domain of medical malpractice. Extreme cases may fall into criminal law.

You certainly may have to defend your medical license after losing a malpractice case. However, there are plenty more reasons for these cases that fall short of criminal or even civil liability. A board may review issues where a defendant's actions were legal but might have been unethical. Similarly, a board can review whether a doctor's diagnoses or skills are unsuited to the profession, even if no one was harmed.

Business conduct also counts in the world of medical license defense. For example, a board may evaluate billing and reimbursement practices. This is especially the case if a doctor stands accused of kickbacks.

Different Standards of Proof

In criminal court, the standard of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt." This is the highest legal standard. In civil court, most issues fall into a "more likely than not" standard.

When a medical review board studies a case, the members don't have to hit these higher standards. Instead, they must assess whether a medical professional poses a risk to the public. Similarly, the board can look at whether someone is a danger to the profession. For example, a board might review whether a researcher's practices undermine their field by damaging scientific norms.

Possible Punishments

Ideally, a medical license defense attorney wants to see no decision come down against a client. However, a client may not be so fortunate.

A board might reprimand a professional. A strike goes on the doctor's record, and a board can consider this if a future case comes up.

Moving up the scale of punishment, license suspension is next. The board orders that a doctor may not practice for a specified period. Once more, this leaves a black mark on the person's record. You may be able to appeal a suspension, however, there's a good chance you won't be able to practice if the suspension was due to a failure of care.

License revocation is the final option. The board strips the doctor of the right to practice forever. Notably, boards usually reserve revocation for the most egregious misconduct. Usually, revocations follow from criminal convictions or deadly and recurring lapses in the standard of care.

Contact a local medical license defense attorney to learn more.