When patients visit a doctor or hospital for treatment, they assume all will go as planned. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Whether it is errors occurring during surgery or childbirth, or a misdiagnosis of a serious illness, the results can be devastating. When this happens, a patient may consider suing for medical malpractice. However, because these are some of the most complex cases seen in courtrooms, it is important to understand if you do in fact have a legitimate medical malpractice claim. To do so, you can consult with a medical malpractice lawyer at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. to learn what legally constitutes malpractice in these situations.
Standard of Care
First and foremost, it must be established that your medical injury, which is defined as an undesired or harmful result of a medical treatment, was in fact caused by the negligence of a healthcare professional, which could be a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, or other staff member. To determine this, your lawyer will examine the evidence to determine if the medical malpractice error happened due to the healthcare professional failing to meet the standard of care. By the standard of care, the question to be answered is whether the healthcare professional in charge of your care acted in a manner that would be consistent with other healthcare professionals in similar circumstances. If your lawyer believes this did not happen, you will likely have legal grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim.
Medical Malpractice Elements
Once you and your attorney have concluded the standard of care was breached, there are four elements that must be proven in the course of a medical malpractice lawsuit, which are:
–Defendant had duty to plaintiff
–Defendant breached this legal duty
–Breach led to plaintiff being injured
–Defendant’s failure to meet standard of care led to plaintiff’s injury
Of these four elements, causation is generally the most difficult to prove. In many cases, winning or losing your case may depend on the testimony of expert witnesses.
Actual and Proximate Cause
When an expert witness testifies on your behalf, it will generally involve proving your injury was due to either actual or proximate cause. With actual cause, the malpractice was due to the defendant’s action or inaction, leading to the injury. Thus, the court will often use the “but for” test, meaning the injury would not have happened but for the action or inaction of the defendant. As for proximate cause, this usually focuses on a series of events that led to your medical injury. Since this can often be more complex to prove, expert witness testimony is crucial in proving a medical malpractice error happened due to proximate cause.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately to discuss your situation. Rather than sit back and fail to be compensated for a medical malpractice error that forever changed your life, file a medical malpractice claim and get the justice and compensation you deserve.