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What Must Be Shown to Prevail in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Published on November 15th, 2019

Medical Malpractice

In medical malpractice cases, there is a very specific thing that must be proven for the plaintiff to succeed. Essentially, it must be shown that the physician or hospital acted negligently. This may sound simple, but legal negligence is a complicated concept. It has four different components, which must each be proven independently. The actual process of proving each component is complicated enough that you should leave it to an attorney. Representing yourself is an incredibly difficult challenge and greatly reduces the chances of winning your case. Let’s review each component of legal negligence in order.

Duty

The first component is duty. The first step in proving that someone acted negligently is establishing that they had a duty to act a certain way. This essentially just means that a reasonable person would expect certain actions. This component is actually simple in medical malpractice cases, as all physicians have a standard level of care that is always expected of them. However, the others are far more complicated.

Breach

Secondly, it must be proven that the duty that the physician had was breached. There must have been some failing on the physician’s part. Sometimes medical injuries occur that are completely out of the doctor’s control. These types of injuries do not count as medical malpractice, as the doctor’s duty was not breached. This is an important distinction that must be proven legally.

Causation

Third, the breach of duty must be proven to be the cause of the injury. If the injury was caused by something other than your doctor’s actions, or if the breach of duty was completely unrelated to the injury, then the court will side with the defendant.

Damage

Finally, there must be some significant damage for a medical malpractice case. If the injury was minor your case may be more suited for small claims court, rather than a large malpractice case. Additionally, it must be proven that the injury was real, but this aspect is not as difficult to prove for an experienced attorney.

You may have noticed that each component of negligence builds upon the previous one. This makes it even more important for the one presenting your case to be competent and experienced. Even if you are able to argue causation well, it will be meaningless unless you properly establish duty and breach first. This is why it is so vital for anyone filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA. You should leave it to a legal professional to prove negligence.

Thanks to MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into what kind of evidence should be presented in a medical malpractice case.

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