How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?

August 19, 2022

Medical mistakes can be devastating to patients. When a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or any other type of licensed medical professional makes a mistake, this can lead to significant patient illness or injury. The victim in these cases may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit, but this is not easy. Medical malpractice claims are notoriously hard to prove.

Here, our Martinsburg medical malpractice lawyers want to discuss how individuals can prove these claims to recover the compensation they are entitled to.

Working With a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

One of the most important aspects of a successful medical malpractice claim is working with an attorney who has extensive experience handling these lawsuits. Medical malpractice claims are complicated, and a personal injury attorney will need to work with trusted medical experts who can examine the medical records and the alleged victim to determine whether or not malpractice has truly occurred.

There will typically be troves of evidence for medical professionals and attorneys to delve through when working to determine whether or not a claim will be successful. These cases often become situations of medical experts going up against medical experts during negotiations and during the trial process. These claims are nearly impossible for individuals to handle on their own without legal assistance.

The Elements of Medical Negligence

There are various elements that must be proven in order for a medical malpractice claim to be successful. These elements include the following:

  • Establishing a duty of care. There must have been a doctor-patient relationship established, which in turn means that the doctor has an obligation to uphold a certain standard of care that is accepted by the medical community. The “standard of care” for medical malpractice claims can be confusing and refers to the degree of skill and care that an average medical provider in a similar field and similar medical community would have provided in the same situation. In other words, would another similarly trained medical professional have made the same error or not?
  • Showing that there was a breach of duty of care. After establishing that a duty of care was present, it must be shown that the medical provider in question somehow breached the medical standard of care owed to the patient.
  • Showing the breach was the primary cause of the injury. After showing that there was a breach of duty of care, it must be proven that the breach was the direct cause of the patient’s injury or illness.
  • Establishing the victim’s damages. Finally, it must be shown that the patient suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of the medical malpractice. This can include medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.

Medical mistakes occur in a wide variety of ways. This can include the provider’s failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, prescription medication errors, surgical mistakes, early discharge from a medical facility, and more. Often, individuals know that a medical error has occurred right away, but there are times when the signs and symptoms of a medical mistake do not appear until days, weeks, months, or even years after the incident occurs. It is crucial to work with a skilled attorney as soon as you know an error has occurred so that the claim can be filed on time.

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