Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from the standard of care owed to the patient during the course of the patient doctor relationship that which results in injury to the patient. If the deviation was the proximate cause of the patient’s injuries and the patient was caused to suffer damages, litigation via a medical malpractice allegation can compensate the victim.
But all experienced medical malpractice attorneys know that New York has a unique requirement that which plaintiff patients must follow. That is, they must use the testimony of a medical expert in order to prove their case. This is because the skill, knowledge, and protocols of the medical profession are not the type of things that ordinary jurors understand. Medicine is a complex field with knowledge held by members of the profession only. In short, any time litigation will involve issues beyond the ken of ordinary jurors, expert testimony will be needed to help the jury understand the topics.
As noted above, medical malpractice involves a medical professional’s deviation from the standard of care owed to the patient. Medical expert testimony will explain what standard of care was required in the specific community and specialty in which the offending doctor practiced. The medical expert will explain the skill that which is required in the community, the degree of care that which should be taken, and the diligence that which should be used. It is all those things that every doctor in the same geographic area in the same field of medicine should do.
Once the standard of care is established for the jury, the medical expert will also have to explain to the jury how the defendant doctor deviated from that standard. Bear in mind that the deviation is the negligent act. The expert medical witness will also be required to explain how that deviation is linked to the patient’s injuries.
Since the plaintiff will use medical experts, the defense will use medical experts to rebut the plaintiff’s expert. Some defense attorneys will even try to discredit the plaintiff’s expert by introducing medical journals and other primary source material. The idea being of course to make the expert look like he or she does not know what the proper standard of care is.
The issue of causation will be battled out between opposing expert witnesses. The plaintiff’s witness will show a causal connection while the defense witness will try to show that the plaintiff’s injuries could not have been caused by the doctor’s deviation. You should understand a discrete nuance here. Please note that a doctor can negligently deviate from the standard of care and still not be liable because the deviation must be what caused the patient’s harm.
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.