According to a study by John Hopkins University more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error making this the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Medical malpractice occurs when the level of care provided by a healthcare provider falls below the appropriate standard, resulting in harm or injury to a patient.
However, successfully bringing a medical malpractice action can be a complex process that requires establishing several elements and the gathering of evidence. It is also important to note that medical malpractice cases can be particularly challenging as the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff which means they must provide clear and convincing evidence to establish each of the elements of medical malpractice.
If you are concerned that you or a family member have been injured by the mistake of a healthcare provider, The Tinker Law Firm PLLC may be able to help. In this article, we will explore the elements involved in proving medical malpractice.
Establish a Doctor-Patient Relationship
It is necessary to establish that a doctor-patient relationship existed between the healthcare provider and the patient. This can be done by providing medical records and other evidence that shows the healthcare provider tended to or treated the patient’s medical needs.
Establish the Standard of Care
Medical professionals are expected to provide a certain level of care that is consistent with the accepted practices and standards in their field. The standard of care is the level of care that a reasonable healthcare provider in the same specialty would provide under similar circumstances and establishing this is key to proving medical malpractice as it helps to determine whether the healthcare provider’s actions were negligent or not.
Demonstrate a Breach in the Standard of Care
Once the standard of care has been established, the plaintiff must show that the healthcare provider breached that standard of care. This can be done by demonstrating that the healthcare provider acted in a manner that was below the standard of care, or that they failed to act in a manner that a reasonable healthcare provider would have acted in the same circumstances.
This step requires demonstrating that the healthcare provider’s breach of the standard of care directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries. To prove causation, it is necessary to show that the injury would not have occurred but for the healthcare provider’s actions or omissions. This can be done by presenting medical evidence, such as medical records or expert testimony, that demonstrates how the healthcare provider’s actions directly caused the injury.
Finally, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered damages as a result of the healthcare provider’s breach of the standard of care. This can include things like physical pain and suffering, mental distress, and financial losses such as medical bills and lost wages.
To succeed in a medical malpractice case it is essential to gather evidence to support each of the elements above. This may include things like medical records, expert and witness testimony, photographs, and other documentation that supports the plaintiff’s claims.
By establishing the necessary elements above and gathering supporting evidence you can build a strong case for medical malpractice.