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What must you prove in a medical malpractice case?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2019 | Firm News |

When you make an appointment to see your Mississippi physician or schedule a hospital admission so you can undergo a needed surgery or other procedure, you expect your doctor and all the other members of your health care team to possess the education, training and experience necessary to make you better than you were before you sought their help. Unfortunately, however, health care professionals make numerous mistakes every day. In fact, preventable medical errors have become the number three cause of U.S. deaths. 

FindLaw explains that if you become ill or injured because your physician or another member of your health care team provided you with substandard care, you can sue that person and the facility that employs him or her for medical malpractice. 

Necessary proof 

Medical malpractice lawsuits are very complicated cases. In order to prevail in your suit, you must be able to prove all of the following by a preponderance of the evidence: 

  • That the doctor, nurse, hospital and other defendant(s) owed you a duty of care 
  • That he, she or they breached that duty, instead negligently providing you with substandard medical care 
  • That you became ill or injured as a result of this breach 
  • That the breach represented the proximate cause of your illness or injury 
  • That due to this breach, and your resulting illness or injury, you suffered financial and personal damages 

Expert witnesses 

Since most laymen, including judges and juries, possess little or no knowledge of medical terminology, illnesses, injuries and conditions, you and your attorney undoubtedly will need to obtain the services of one or more expert witnesses in order to testify on your behalf at trial. As you go about choosing these expert witnesses, however, keep in mind that each one must be the same kind of health care professional as one of the people you are suing. Why? Because no one standard of care applies to all health care professionals. Therefore, if, for instance, you are suing your surgeon, your expert witness must likewise be a surgeon with the same education, credentials and practice area as your defendant. 

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.