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Proof That Must Be Obtained for Medical Malpractice

How to Prove Fault in a Medical Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice claims can occur for any number of reasons, which include everything from an incorrect dosage being prescribed to a surgical error that results in further injury. It's estimated that more than 250,000 people die as a result of a medical mistake every year. If you have recently been affected by a medical error, it's important to understand that proof must be shown if you file a lawsuit.

Proving the Patient-Provider Relationship

Before delving into the injuries that occurred and the mistakes that were made, it's necessary to prove that the patient-provider relationship existed in the first place. This is usually a simple matter that involves saying that the relationship existed or showing some document that proves it. However, this aspect of a medical malpractice case is almost always inferred. In most cases, the defense won't challenge the patient-provider relationship even if it has yet to be proven.

Determining the Base Standard of Care

The next step involves determining the base standard of care. When a judge looks at a medical malpractice case, they are tasked with identifying if negligence occurred. However, it's possible for things to go wrong with medical care even when a doctor or other medical professional does everything right and by the book. The difference between something going wrong during a surgery or a negligent error being made involves the level of care that the medical professional gave.   If this level of care was below the standard of care that another similarly trained professional would provide, the act or omission could be considered negligent. Establishing a base standard of care usually requires testimony from expert medical witnesses. These individuals will be asked to testify about the actions that a competent medical professional would have provided in similar situations. It's important to understand that the defense can also use the testimony of medical professionals.   The expert witness that you request will compare the standard of care that has been set to the details in your case to determine if the defendant was negligent. This is considered to be the most challenging aspect of a medical malpractice case. Two doctors could have different ideas of what constitutes a base standard of care. On the other hand, it's possible for the error to be so egregious that proving negligence is relatively simple and straightforward.

Linking the Act of Negligence With the Injury

Once a base standard of care has been set, it's important to understand that the act of negligence will need to be linked with the injury in question. There's always a possibility that a medical professional was negligent but that the negligence itself didn't cause the injury. If a doctor provided you with an incorrect prescription and you became sick shortly after taking the medication, your sickness could be a common cold or some other medical issue that isn't related to the incorrect medication you were given.   The defendant's action or inability to act will need to have caused an additional health issue or worsened a current ailment. If an attorney can prove that the act of negligence resulted in injury, you could receive a successful verdict. Keep in mind, however, that expert medical witnesses are likely needed during this stage of the process as well.

Showing Proof of Harm

A final type of proof that must be shown in a medical malpractice case involves showing proof of harm. The plaintiff in a medical malpractice case will be tasked with providing details about the harm that was caused by the negligent act. The damages you can obtain if you win this case largely depend on the severity of the injury as well as the seriousness of the mistake.   It's also important to understand that there's no set amount of compensation for medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania. If a plaintiff prevails, the compensation they receive could be determined by a judge or by the defendant as a result of a settlement being made. There are many different forms of compensation that can be sought, including:  
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Current lost income
  • Cost of medical treatment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  While some states set a cap on the amount of economic and non-economic damages an individual can receive from a medical malpractice case, there is no cap in Pennsylvania. However, you won't know exactly how much compensation you're set to receive until the case is nearly complete. Our personal injury lawyers can provide you with a rough estimate based on previous cases that we have handled as well as your injury information. In the event that you can prove all of the necessary elements, you may be able to obtain a favorable verdict.

How Our Allentown Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You

When you or someone close to you has been harmed because of a medical mistake, our Allentown personal injury attorneys can help you identify if your case is strong enough to go to court. In the event that your situation warrants filing a lawsuit, our attorneys will guide you through every step of this lengthy process.   The initial step of a medical malpractice case involves completing an investigation of the incident that resulted in your injuries. During this stage of the process, the investigation will be exhaustive to ensure that all of the facts are known and that as much proof is gathered as possible. Incident investigations almost always occur before a lawsuit is filed.   There are also a couple of additional steps that can take place before filing a lawsuit. For instance, it may be time to hire one or more expert medical professionals who will be able to testify before a judge in the event that the case goes to court. Depending on what the medical expert states, you should be able to gain a better understanding of the possibility for success before even filing a lawsuit.   Before a lawsuit is finally filed, there's one more step that can be taken, which involves reaching out to the defendant to determine if they want to settle the case. A pre-trial settlement isn't a regular occurrence when it comes to medical malpractice cases. In most situations, any insurance companies involved with the lawsuit will want to perform a comprehensive pre-trial investigation, which doesn't take place until after a lawsuit is filed.   Once you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the discovery process can begin. During the discovery process, both teams will investigate the defenses and legal claims that are being made. Keep in mind that it can take anywhere from 6-18 months for a medical malpractice case to go to trial once the lawsuit has been filed. After the discovery process comes to a conclusion, lawyers for both sides usually discuss the possibility for a settlement, which means that the case wouldn't need to go before a judge. While it's possible to come to an agreement without involving a third party, many settlements are reached with the help of a third-party mediator who can handle negotiations as an unbiased individual. Our lawyers have the experience and skills necessary to help you build a strong case. Call us today to learn more. If you have been the victim of an act of medical negligence that resulted in harm, call our Allentown personal injury attorney at (610) 435-7400 to discuss your options and determine if you have a strong case.

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