What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a personal injury that occurs when a medical professional does not provide a patient with the standard of care that others would have provided under similar circumstances.
Common types of medical malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis
- Improper treatment, such as surgical or medication errors
- Failure to warn patient of known risks
The patient must be able to prove that their doctor was negligent and that they incurred damages in order to receive compensation. Damages can include past or future medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, physical pain, and mental anguish.
While the medical malpractice process will vary depending on your state, there a several common requirements. A lawyer can help you evaluate your case according to these standards and help you understand the laws in your state.
What evidence is needed to prove that malpractice occurred?
Your relationship to the doctor, medical professional, or pharmacy
You must show that the medical professional agreed to care for you. This step usually goes uncontested. But, you must document your relationship for your case to have legal standing. This claim is rarely contested, but the relationship must be documented for a case to have legal standing.
Standard of care
You need to show that you received sub-standard care or negligent care. This is typically the most complex part of a medical malpractice case. Your doctor must be compared to other competent and similarly trained doctors. Other doctors will serve as expert witnesses and examine the standard of care guidelines for your diagnosis. Detailed testimony from you and your expert witness will be used by your lawyer.
Negligence caused your injury and damages
You, your lawyer, and your expert witness will also use detailed testimony to establish that your doctor's negligent care caused your injury and damages. It must be very clear that your injury or suffering is not because of an underlying illness or unrelated health issue.
Quantify your damages
You must be able to quantify your suffering. Additional medical bills, lost wages, and mental health care due to malpractice are all ways to show how your doctor's substandard care hurt you.
“Preponderance of evidence”
The term refers to the evidence provided in your case, meaning that the majority of the evidence points to malpractice. This is why providing as much reliable proof as possible is important to the success of your case. Remember that one witness with accurate information is more important than three witnesses with wavering testimony.
Each state has its own set of requirements for to go through the medical malpractice process. Some states say that you must pass a medical review board that may or may not grant you a legal proceeding. Other states need a certificate of merit for your case. A local medical malpractice lawyer will understand your state’s requirements.