When you fall ill, you trust that your doctor will treat you with the highest degree of care to get you back to sound health. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes, a doctor or hospital will make a medical error that caused your condition to worsen, resulting in further medical complications or even death. In legal terms, this is known as medical malpractice
What is the burden of proof in a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Medical malpractice claims are a three legged stool. You must prove that the healthcare provider or hospital was negligent, that the negligence injured you, and that the injury is serious. The plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must prove these three legs by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely true than not true.
Breach of duty of care
First, the injured person, i.e. the plaintiff, must prove that the medical provider failed to use the degree of care, skill, and diligence that is used by ordinarily careful providers practicing in the same or similar community. A failure to use such care, skill, or diligence is negligence. This almost always requires expert medical testimony to prove.
The plaintiff must also prove that the provider’s breach of the standard of care caused an injury. The plaintiff may need an expert medical witness to testify that the provider’s negligence was the cause of the injuries.
Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the provider’s negligence caused them damages. Damages can include economic damages, such as wage loss and medicals bills, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, disability, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Medical malpractice can leave its victims and their dependents devastated. If you or someone you love has sustained a preventable injury at the hands of a health care provider, you may be entitled for compensation for your loss.