What You Need To Prove In Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

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We have all heard of horror stories about medical operations and diagnoses which have gone awry.

In a study conducted by John Hopkins, it was found that 250 000 deaths occur annually in the United States as a direct result of medical errors.

Medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Everyone is susceptible to this.

Let’s take a shallow dive to see what you need to prove in a medical practice lawsuit if you are to be successful.

What is Medical Malpractice?

When a doctor or other health professional fails to properly perform their medical duties as required, and a patient is harmed as a result, there has been medical malpractice.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) defines medical malpractice as:

“any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient.”

Essential Elements to prove in a Medical Malpractice Law Suit

To be successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must be able to prove all of the following:

Doctor-Patient Relationship

You must be able to show that there was a physician-patient relationship between you and the doctor.

This means that you agreed to hire the doctor, and they agreed to treat you.

If the doctor treated you, this is relatively easy to prove. However, this is not always easy to prove. For example, in a  case in which a consulting doctor never treated you directly but gave advice on your case to another doctor.

Casual advice given by a doctor in a social setting with no doctor-patient relationship will not qualify.

Negligence on the Part of the Doctor

Doctors are held to a particular standard of care when treating and diagnosing their patients.

The doctor’s care is required to be “reasonably skillful and careful”, and if it is not, the doctor has been negligent.

The doctor’s actions are compared with the fictitious “reasonable and careful doctor” with the same qualifications. The care is not required to be the best possible care.

You need to prove that the doctor caused you harm by delivering a lower standard of care than a reasonable and careful doctor would have done.

The Negligence Must have Caused the Injury

If the harm cannot be causally linked to negligence, the doctor cannot be held liable.

In medical cases, the biggest obstacle is to prove this causal link. You need to prove that it is more likely than not that the negligence caused the harm.

The leading of expert evidence will almost always be required to prove this.

The Injury Must Have Led to Specific Damages

You must have suffered some harm due to the negligence before claiming.

Typical examples of the harms suffered could include the following:

  • Additional medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earnings
  • Lost work

To conclude

Medical malpractice lawsuits have very well defined and specific elements. However, these lawsuits are typically highly complex. Therefore, they require expert testimony and a high level of specialized expertise to be successful.

Suppose you believe that you potentially have a medical malpractice case. In that case, you can have a free consultation with a Chicago medical malpractice law firm. The consultation will aim to assess whether you have a claim or not and the chances of success.

The case could be undertaken on a contingency basis which means you only pay the lawyer if they win your case.

Interesting Related Article: “What to Look for in a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?”