What Do You Need in Order to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Medical malpractice cases can be complicated, expensive, difficult affairs. Patients who are harmed by healthcare professionals may not know whether they were harmed as a result of the negligence of their healthcare provider or if instead, they simply did not get the benefits from a procedure for which they were hoping or expecting. There are a few important factors at play in any given medical malpractice lawsuit, and much of the success of your malpractice lawsuit will depend on the expertise of your professional witnesses. Continue reading for tips on filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, and contact a seasoned medical expert with any additional questions.
A Finding of Negligence
Any medical malpractice plaintiff must establish that there was a standard of care in play and that the defendant somehow deviated from that standard of care. That deviation must have, in turn, somehow harmed the plaintiff. The standard of care is defined by asking what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done given the same set of circumstances. Like any other personal injury matter, the question is ultimately one of negligence.
To establish medical negligence, you need to establish what a reasonably prudent doctor would have done under the given circumstances. There are easy cases: If a surgeon leaves a medical tool inside a patient after surgery, then clearly someone involved in the surgery was negligent. Many cases, however, turn on the professional judgment of the medical professionals involved in the care of the patient. You need to establish whether a reasonably prudent medical professional should have, for example: avoided a misdiagnosis of a problem; diagnosed the patient correctly sooner; recommended or implemented a different treatment or course of treatment; performed a different medical procedure; performed a medical procedure better; better explained the risks of a procedure to a patient; or treated a patient more effectively overall, including administration of medication, treatment in advance of a procedure, and treatment while recuperating.
A medical expert in the same field can help you answer the question of negligence by, for example, establishing:
- Were certain medical tests that should have been undertaken omitted or employed incorrectly?
- Was the patient presenting symptoms that should not have been missed by the treating physician?
- Did the healthcare provider overlook something in the patient’s history that might have contributed to a diagnosis or indicated that a different course of treatment would have been better?
- Were the negative results of a medical procedure, such as surgery, unusual? Were the risks of that outcome inadequately explained to the patient or their family?
- Is a patient reacting unusually to a course of treatment, such as medication? Should the healthcare provider have been able to anticipate an adverse reaction, such as an allergy?
- Was the healthcare provider utilizing medically-accepted procedures? Were they engaging in any risky behavior, such as employing untested or fringe treatments?
Proof of Injury
Injury following a medical procedure can take many forms. Your plaintiff may be suffering from pain, infection, perforated organs, inflammation, disability, limited mobility, impaired functionality of a limb, organ, or other body part, or any other of a host of problems. You need a dedicated medical expert to ensure that the injury your plaintiff has experienced is the result of the medical care they received, as opposed to other factors. Moreover, if the patient has undergone a series of treatments from different providers, it is important to establish what procedures caused which injuries in order to hold the appropriate parties liable.
Evidence, Evidence, Evidence
Proving duty of care, negligence, injury, and damages in a medical malpractice case requires mountains of evidence, and very specific types of evidence at that. Even the most skilled attorney is not a medical expert and may not know what evidence is necessary to prove a claim, where to find that evidence, or how to interpret it. A qualified medical expert is vital in helping you look for and obtain the type of evidence necessary to prove your medical malpractice claim, and in utilizing that evidence to its full potential.
If you need an experienced, detail-oriented and effective expert witness in a medical malpractice case, contact the offices of Neurosurgery Medlegal Services, LLC, at 866-659-8051.