How to prove your medical negligence case in court
Proving medical negligence requires proof that the doctor or medical professional in question was negligent when administering medical treatment to you, and, as a result, you suffered injury or harm. Cases involving medical negligence are typically very complicated because they require extensive legal knowledge and medical knowledge to prove that negligence occurred.
The type of evidence you’ll need in order to support your claim can come in the form of expert witnesses — doctors or other medical professionals with expertise and experience in the particular field at issue — that can provide testimony as to what a competent and reasonably skilled doctor would have done under the same or similar circumstances.
The documentation generally needed to help prove medical negligence includes:
- Medical records and bills
- Insurance and Medicare/Medicaid correspondence
- Death certificate and autopsy report
- Communications about your case from the doctor or his or her insurer
- Receipts for related out-of-pocket expenses
- Pay stubs or tax returns demonstrating income loss
- Before and after photographs of the victim
In some cases, eyewitnesses to the negligent actions on the part of the doctor or medical professional in question can offer valuable testimony for the victim.
In order to prove that you’ve been a victim of medical negligence, there are some basic requirements that must be met. You must show that you had a doctor-patient relationship with the doctor in question. This means that you hired this doctor, and he or she agreed to be hired.
You’ll need to prove that your doctor didn’t meet the “medical standard of care” which is “the level and type of care that a competent, reasonable, and skilled healthcare professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under the circumstances that led to the alleged malpractice.”
In addition to proving that your doctor was negligent and did not provide you with the medical standard of care, you’ll also need to prove that you sustained an injury as a result of negligence on his or her part.
You must also provide the court with details regarding the damages that you suffered as a result of the negligence. Damages may include lost wages, any additional medical and hospital costs that you incurred as a result of the doctor’s negligence, physical pain, and mental anguish.
In cases involving medical negligence, you will need to prove all of the previously stated elements “by a preponderance of the evidence” which means that the elements are more likely to be true than not. This can be a very complicated process and is best handled with the help and advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Your next steps
Some common examples of medical malpractice cases include failure to diagnose, providing improper treatment, or failing to warn a patient of known risks, to name a few.
If you’ve been injured as a result of negligence on the part of a doctor or other healthcare professional, it can be difficult to prove medical negligence without the help of a skilled California lawyer specializing in medical malpractice cases. With more than 30 years of experience, Scott S. Harris has helped victims of medical negligence receive compensation for their injuries.