How Hard is It to Prove Medical Malpractice?
August 24, 2021
If you’ve been injured after a healthcare professional made a serious mistake, you may want to know, how hard is it to prove medical malpractice? Like all personal injury cases, it boils down to the facts. Are the facts in your case well documented? Do they show you were injured because a medical professional failed to treat you with the necessary skill and care?
Wapner Newman’s medical malpractice lawyers help those injured by serious mistakes of healthcare providers and organizations. The healthcare industry and those working in it do amazing work, keeping nearly all of us healthy. But the reality is, sometimes medical malpractice happens and patients are injured. We help victims get the compensation they deserve and hold those accountable for mistakes responsible for their actions. Is it easy to prove medical malpractice? No, but it’s easier after you’ve handled as many cases as we have.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is an area of negligence law covering injuries caused by healthcare providers and institutions. The legal system gives them a fair amount of leeway when they take actions and make decisions. Not every mistake is medical malpractice.
To win a medical malpractice case, you (the plaintiff, the one filing the legal claim) would need to prove the applicable standard of care in your situation and that the defendant (the party being sued) didn’t act up to that standard, causing you harm.
The standard of care is the watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would use. It’s the generally accepted medical practices used by a group of medical professionals in the same geographic area for patients suffering from a particular disorder or illness.
The standard depends on which kind of healthcare provider is involved. The standard of care for a family doctor giving you an annual exam would be different than an orthopedic surgeon replacing your knee. It can also change for many reasons, including your age, pre-existing conditions, medications you take, and overall health.
Who Can Commit Medical Malpractice?
Any healthcare provider could potentially commit medical malpractice, so there’s no limit on who might be sued. You could be harmed by your dentist, a surgeon, paramedics, nurses, pediatrician, pharmacist, or neurologist.
In addition to individuals being sued, organizations that employed or supervised them could also be sued for medical malpractice. A hospital could be liable for the harm you suffered if it failed to uphold its duty to oversee all those practicing medicine for it. You would need to show:
- The hospital didn’t follow the standard of care for its operations.
- It knew or should have known of the problems causing harm.
- Its actions, or failure to act, were a substantial reason for causing the injury.
Is it Easy to Prove Medical Malpractice?
You must show that medical negligence occurred; it directly caused your injuries; and you suffered harm as a result. Your injury didn’t happen before you saw this professional and there wasn’t some other event afterward that caused it.
A medical expert is needed to help prove these issues. This expert will review your medical records, interview you, and may examine you. Without a professional opinion on what the standard of care was in your case, that it was breached, and that you suffered harm as a result, you have no case. How hard is it to prove medical negligence? It gets easier when you have the right expert effectively telling your story to jurors who are open to hear your case.
How Hard is It to Prove Medical Negligence?
No two lawsuits are identical. If you compare a medical malpractice case to a car accident claim, generally, the medical malpractice claim is more complex. Some of the issues that can make a medical malpractice case harder to prove include:
- What’s the right standard of care? The parties may disagree about how the defendant’s actions and decisions should be judged. You may want a very high standard used; the defendant may claim that a lower one applies and it was met
- What caused the injury? If the claim is that a doctor prescribed the wrong medication and it caused a heart attack, might there be another reason? If the plaintiff has other medical conditions and a bad heart to begin with, proving the drug did the harm could be tough.
- Which expert to believe? There could be multiple experts working for both sides. A jury could get confused over the conflicting opinions on the cause and who was to blame. We hire experts who not only are great doctors but are experienced with testifying. But defendants hire skilled experts, too
- We generally have great respect for doctors. Jurors may be reluctant to believe one committed a serious mistake that harmed you. Most doctors are hard-working, competent, caring people. Jurors may think very hard before they decide that one caused serious injuries to a patient
Wapner Newman is the Law Firm You Can Trust with Your Medical Malpractice Case
When you place your trust in healthcare providers, you give them control over your health. If medical malpractice occurred, that trust was misplaced. You need to decide how to get your life and health back together. Part of that process may be a medical malpractice claim which could compensate you for additional medical treatments, lost wages, pain and suffering.
A medical malpractice case is about more than money; it’s also about fairness and accountability. When you take a stand against negligent healthcare, you help yourself and make the healthcare system better and more fair for everyone.
Wapner Newman attorneys experienced with medical malpractice lawsuits understand how complex these cases can be. We can take up this fight with you. You can focus on your health, your loved ones, and your journey back to a good life. We will work on making things right for you and your family.
Our attorneys service clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at (215) 569-0900 for a consultation.