When you go to your doctor for treatment, you expect the best care. You expect the staff at your doctor’s office or hospital to follow the state guidelines for medical practice. However, on occasion, those practices and laws are not followed as closely as they should, and you may end up getting hurt. While you may want to be quick to sue for medical malpractice, you need to be certain that you have a case.
Before you can bring any type of suit, you have to prove that a doctor-patient relationship did, in fact, exist. Because you are saying this person was neglectful in their care, it is easy to prove that they were your doctor. Even if all the doctor did was agree to provide a diagnosis, the relationship exists. It is the one area of your suit where you shouldn’t see any challenges.
Proof of Substandard Care
It is one thing to say that your doctor or their staff caused the injuries you have; it’s another thing to prove it. It is on you to prove that your physician did not act with the same skill or care than a similarly trained health care professional would have. He or she will be compared to others in their field. Not only will their expertise be called into question, the exact circumstances and other mitigating factors will be considered.
In order to prove this part of your case, expert witnesses testify about how competent doctors would have reacted under the same conditions. Also, after reviewing the facts, these same witnesses will testify to whether or not your doctor was competent at the time and if the standard of care was adhered to.
This step is probably the most crucial piece of your medical malpractice suit.
While showing that your doctor gave you substandard care is the most important aspect of your case, you also have to be able to prove that the care you received is what caused your injury. You must prove that your injuries were not caused by any underlying medical conditions. If the injuries have to do with the condition that you saw the doctor for in the first place, you must prove that poor care is what caused the condition to worsen.
Proof of Harm
One final area you must prove is how this new injury or worsening illness caused you harm. In legalese, this is known as damages, which you want to be awarded back to you. Harm usually includes the cost of additional treatment, any lost wages due to the injury, and mental pain and suffering you may have had due to the substandard care.
Sadly, medical malpractice is on the plaintiff to prove. Your case must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence. In layman’s terms, you must be able to show that each statement is more than likely true. While it may seem like an insurmountable task, compared to other court standards, it is one of the easiest to prove.