Medical Malpractice: Proving Your Case

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Just because your medical procedure did not go as planned and your recovery was longer than anticipated, this does not mean your doctor committed medical malpractice.  In order to prevail in a medical malpractice case, you will need to prove your case.

Your doctor or health care provider owes you a duty of providing care in accordance with professional standards.  “Standard of care” means the actions that a reasonable health care professional in your community would have taken under similar circumstances. The actions that are reasonable can vary from circumstance to circumstance and also according to where the actions were performed.  For example, if you saw a doctor in a rural and underserved area, that doctor won’t be held to the same standard as a doctor practicing in an urban area with lots of access to state-of-the-art testing facilities.

To prove your medical malpractice case, you need to show that your doctor was negligent and did not meet the reasonable standard of care.  You need to show the following elements:

  1. Negligence.  This is the failure to use ordinary care.  It’s the failure to do something that should have been done in keeping with accepted medical practice.
  2. Proximate cause.  This means that the health care provider’s negligence actually caused your injuries and that your injuries were reasonably foreseeable because of the health care provider’s failure to give the appropriate care.
  3. Damages.  This is the harm resulting from the health care provider’s negligence.  Damages can be in the form of physical, emotional and financial harm that you experience because of the negligence.

To prove your case, you will need to procure the services of an expert witness to testify on your behalf.  This is a doctor who will say that the action taken by your doctor was not reasonable under the circumstances.  An expert is sometimes difficult to find because many health care providers are reluctant to testify against their colleagues.