In a case of Medical Malpractice, the Burden of Proof is on the side of the prosecution, made up of the plaintiff/victim and their legal representation. Proving that Medical Malpractice occurred is a difficult but fortunately structured litigation style that is dealt with by a highly specialized medical malpractice lawyer. Here are the steps to proving medical malpractice occurred in the legal sphere.
1. Hire a Lawyer
Hiring a medical malpractice lawyer means that you are making a choice to start off with the best plan possible to prove and win your case. A lawyer in this particular sector will conduct a preliminary investigation that will set the stage for the case and its initiation. They may even get access to documents and personnel that you could not have as a patient with a medical grievance.
2. Gather Documents and Witnesses
During the Discovery stage of a Malpractice lawsuit, relevant documents are gathered from both the prosecution and defense, and witnesses are selected to give testimony should the case go to trial. You don’t only want documentation from the malpractice incident in question, but also from subsequent medical and health professionals who treated you and may have tests and documentation of their own pertaining to the damages that manifested in you physically and mentally. Witnesses may also include family, friends, and employers.
3. Duty of Care
The first step in proving a medical practice case is establishing duty of care, or confirming that the medical professional in question was, indeed, in charge of the medical treatment and care of the plaintiff/patient. This step is to confirm the doctor-patient relationship.
4. Standard of Care
Standard of care refers to the expected acceptable level of medical care in the healthcare industry. More specifically, that the physician(s) or health care provider(s) are giving the patient the accepted standards of care. If the defendant deviated from this accepted standard of medical care, then the burden is on the plaintiff’s side to establish/prove this negligence/breach of duty. If the case goes to trial, the burden of proof becomes more complex, since the plaintiff’s side must prove to an entire jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was negligent.
The plaintiff has to prove that they have acquired specific, quantifiable, and compensable damages as a result of medical malpractice. This includes the establishment of increased economic/financial burdens on the plaintiff and their family, as well as non-economic aspects of suffering. These include illness, injury, pain, suffering, medical debt, lost wages, lost employment, and wrongful death. The best way to prove damages is with documentation and expert witnesses, and detailed in #2.
While some Medical Malpractice cases can be complex, take a long time, and feel uniquely hard to prove, the plaintiff must remember that they are often an individual and one lawyer against a very large healthcare system with endless funding to fight malpractice cases. Paying attention with each of these steps can help improve chances of a winning verdict on the side of the plaintiff.