Bad Doctor: 5 Steps to Prove a Medical Malpractice Happened
You needed medical attention however the situation has left you injured, untreated, or with a worsened condition. As a result, you decide to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or organization that treated you.
To be successful in this endeavor there are certain factors that you need to prove. Doing so is not only required by law but will put you in the best position of a judge ruling in your favour in you getting compensation you need and deserve.
1. Existence of a doctor-patient relationship
For your medical malpractice lawsuit to be successful, you need to first show there was a doctor-patient relationship. Provided a doctor has diagnosed or treated a patient, then the relationship exists. This relationship according to the law shows that the doctor was under an obligation to provide the patient with proper care.
In these cases, it is usually easy for a medical malpractice lawyer to prove the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. In most cases, the defendants do not challenge this element of the claim. Even so, this element still remains important since a medical malpractice claim cannot proceed without proving the existence of a doctor-patient relationship.
2. Proof of negligence
Proof of negligent care is another crucial element for successful litigation. The plaintiff has to show that the doctor, when providing care, did not act in accordance with set standards of required by law. There are also clinical practice guidelines set by medical bodies that can be used as evidence in demonstrating negligence.
The doctor’s care will be compared to what a competent doctor with similar skills would have done in the same situation. If your doctor did not provide care to the standards expected, then you would have proved that the doctor acted out of negligence.
3. Negligent care directly caused injury
While it is essential to show that your doctor was negligent, you need to link your injury to the care received. Proof of negligence alone cannot prove a medical malpractice lawsuit. You should be able to show that your doctor’s mistakes were the direct cause of your injury.
You can also show that the negligence care caused your health condition to worsen. Failure to link the two can result in a dismissal of your case.. This is because the defendant can claim your injury was caused by an existing medical condition and not the negligence of the doctor.
4. Measurable damages
You must also show that the injuries you incurred due to negligent care had damaging consequences. The damages ought to be quantifiable to convince the court that the compensation you are requesting is warranted.
Damages can be both physical and emotional. The most common damages include loss of income as a result of inability to work, disability, and additional costs of treatment that can include medical bills of specialists. For emotional damages, you are required to show the effects of emotional distress and constant pain to convince the judge that your damages are substantial and worthy of compensation.
5. Proof by a “preponderance of evidence”
Medical malpractice lawsuits have a different standard of proof called proof by a preponderance of the evidence. This means as the plaintiff you need to prove that the evidence you provide in a court of law is ”more likely to be true than not to be true”.
Essentially, your evidence should be more than 50% true. This minimum standard has to be met to convince the judge of the medical malpractice. Also, the plaintiff usually has to present the case to a malpractice review board before it can proceed to a court of law.