Proving negligence in a medical malpractice case
If a medical professional harmed you or a loved one, you might be thinking about taking legal action. You also might wonder whether you have a case. Medical malpractice claims are complex. Not all doctor mistakes rise to the level of negligence, but many do.
You should speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect a doctor or other medical professional was negligent in your treatment or a loved one’s treatment. An attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed.
Five steps to prove a claim
The following are the five elements needed to prove a medical malpractice claim:
- Doctor-patient relationship. You need to show that the individual you accuse of negligence was your doctor. This element is rarely disputed and easy to prove. You can’t sue a doctor who didn’t treat you. For example, if you overhear someone at a party offer medical advice and you follow it, you can’t file a negligence suit against that person, even if he or she is a doctor.
- The doctor was negligent. Doctors must meet what is known as “The Medical Standard of Care.” This refers to the level of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional with a similar background and in the same medical community would provide. A medical malpractice claim often includes testimony from other doctors who can describe how they would perform in a similar situation.
- The negligence resulted in injury. If you were injured, you must show that the doctor’s incompetence caused the harm. In some cases, it may be difficult to prove the doctor’s negligence caused the injury. Many patients who receive treatment are already sick with an illness or injury. You must prove the doctor’s actions made the condition become worse or led to an additional medical issue. A central question in the claim is: Did the doctor’s negligence cause harm to the patient or was it the previous condition? An expert witness may be called to testify that the doctor’s negligence was the cause.
- The injury resulted in damages. What type of harm did the patient suffer as a result of negligence? Some of the common damages in a medical malpractice case include lost wages or additional medical expenses. A harmed patient might also show he or she suffered physical pain and mental anguish.
- Prove the elements stated above. You will need to present a “preponderance of evidence” to prove your medical malpractice claim. The process is complicated and regulated by complex rules. To be successful in a claim, you should work with an experienced attorney. Don’t try to handle the case on your own.
How a medical malpractice attorney in Kansas can help
If you suspect medical negligence led to an injury or death of a loved one, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Warner Law Offices in Wichita.
Even if you’re not sure you have a case, you have nothing to lose by consulting with our firm. Warner Law Offices offers a free consultation and works on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless you obtain compensation.
With over 25 years’ experience, Warner Law Offices knows how to put skills and resources to work for clients so they can receive the compensation they deserve.