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Determining liability when machines make mistakes

On Behalf of Cronin & Maxwell

The use of artificial intelligence has the ability to revolutionize the medical field and make health care safer for patients in Florida and around the country. However, it is worth pondering what happens if a machine makes a mistake. Currently, AI is considered to be a tool used by a medical professional as opposed to something that can make decisions without being questioned. If a computer program provides poor information, it is up to the doctor to question the data.

It is akin to a surgeon not being able to blame a broken scalpel for making an error during a procedure. At some point, AI may become the standard of care when treating a patient. If this happens, it may be necessary to change liability laws to ensure that medical professionals can overrule a machine’s advice.

Some believe that the courts will establish precedents as it relates to liability when autonomous cars come out. As this happens, it may provide clarity as to when AI might be at fault if a medical error occurs. Currently, medical errors are thought to be the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

If a doctor makes an error that causes pain or death to a patient, it may be considered to be medical professional negligence. Those who are harmed may receive compensation to pay for medical bills or lost wages. Other damages may be available depending on details of a case. It will be necessary to show that the doctor failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

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