Professional negligence such as medical malpractice occurs every day, in every community, and within every medical specialization. Errors are not always easy to detect and may be masked by ‘successful’ treatment.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of medical malpractice. Moreover, these attorneys know what must be done prior to the commencement of a suit, during pre-trial discovery, and during the course of a trial to gain the recovery that you deserve.
So, what must be proved?
In order to recover compensation for injuries caused by a medical provider’s negligence, there must be proof that a relationship existed between you and the negligent provider. Quite simply, the negligence of one emergency room doctor does not make the entire staff of the emergency liable for your injuries. An established relationship is important because medical providers owe no duty of care to patients not under their care.
Once a doctor-patient relationship exists, then a duty arises. Medical providers have the duty to treat patients with the competence and skill possessed by other reasonable and prudent practitioners in the same community, specialization, and under the same circumstances. That is, the medical profession itself dictates what is reasonable and prudent, what the standard course of treatment is for injuries and illnesses, and medical professionals must adhere to that standard.
The only acceptable way to prove the requisite standard of care that was due to the patient plaintiff is via expert testimony. The expert must testify as to what the medical community required of the physician under the circumstances of the case. This is highly fact dependant.
Next, it must be proved that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the patient’s injuries. Proximate cause means that the breach was the direct and uninterrupted cause of the foreseeable harm suffered by the patient. The further away from the alleged negligence that the harm occurred and the greater amount of intervening and unforeseeable events between the breach and the injury, the less likely it will be that the medical professional will be held liable.
Of course, there must be proof that the patient was injured. Injuries can be having a second otherwise unnecessary surgery, loss of body function, mental impairment, pain, suffering, and even death. Damages are an expression of the injury in monetary terms.
Damages must be proved at trial as well. Quantifying a patient’s injuries in terms of monetary damages is difficult; it is both an art and a science. Of course, money spent on medical bills and lost wages is easier to calculate. But pain and suffering is much more difficult. An experienced medical malpractice attorney knows the value of your pain and suffering and knows how to seek guidance from previous court decisions in determining the value of your injuries.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.