There are many situations in which you might be required to undergo some type of lab testing. In addition to medical tests ordered by your doctor, you might have to pass a drug screening in order to be hired, or take a medical test to show you’re qualified for certain jobs or benefits.
But did you know that if a lab makes a careless error and produces a wrong result, it could be held responsible for any harm that follows?
Take the case of a mother in Oklahoma who – in order to collect child support – sought to establish the paternity of the man she believed was the father of her child.
Lab tests can make a huge difference in a person’s medical care, job prospects, or even criminal record. Labs have a legal duty not to be careless.
The state arranged for a lab to conduct a DNA test, and the lab reported that the man was not the father. It conducted a second test that produced a similar result.
The mother then submitted a DNA sample to a different lab on her own.After the second lab determined the man was indeed the father, the woman sued the first lab, claiming that it produced the wrong result because of carelessness in handling and identifying the DNA sample. She claimed that as a result of the mistake, she had to pay much greater legal and court fees.
The lab argued that it couldn’t be sued because it was conducting the test in connection with a court proceeding, but the Oklahoma Supreme Court said that didn’t make any difference and the lab could be sued for its errors.