From education or through watching television, most people have heard the phrase, “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This refers to level of proof (evidence) that has to be present in order for a criminal court to hold a defendant guilty of a crime. The prosecution carries this burden.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys know that injured patients can mistake the applicability of this burden. You should know that it does not apply to civil cases. Instead, a much lower burden is used in civil litigation.
The burden of proof in a medical malpractice case is the preponderance of the evidence. This means the plaintiff’s evidence must show that his or her side of the story is more likely true than untrue. This is a significantly lower standard when compared to beyond a reasonable doubt where the prosecution must show that nothing else can explain the event.
Please be advised, however, the lower evidentiary standard in medical malpractice cases does not mean winning the suit will be easy. The injured patient must still produce a substantial amount of evidence against the negligent medical professional that must sufficiently persuade a judge and or jury to side in the patient’s favor.
Medical malpractice litigation is a unique type of negligence claim that requires expert testimony in order to successfully prove a claim. This is because the topics covered during a medical negligence trial are typically beyond the keen of an ordinary jury. Therefore, the jury will need an expert to explain what happened or what should have happened. Compare this to slip and fall litigation where the jury will completely understand how a person can be negligently injured when a property owner fails to remediate a hazardous condition on the property.
Patients injured by negligent medical professionals will need an expert to explain the standard of care due to patients. Specifically, the testimony must explain the duty owed to the specific plaintiff-patient in regard to the treatment rendered. The testimony must go on to explain how the doctor’s duty was breached. And then there must be sufficient evidence tying the breach to the plaintiff’s injuries. The amount of damages claimed by the plaintiff must be substantiated too.
Of course, the defendant doctor will produce his or her own experts. In the end, the experienced medical malpractice attorney will drive the scales of justice to tip slightly in favor for the plaintiff.
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.