Proving medical negligence is the most vital aspect of any malpractice case since it will also affect your compensation and damage rewards. Because of this, you should work closely with a Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyer to prove fault.
Several elements are needed to prove negligence and establish fault. Still, with a lawyer, you can gather more evidence and gain the upper hand in negotiating a settlement or simply have proper representation in court. Here is what you should know about proving medical negligence in Pittsburgh medical malpractice cases.
In society, everyone has a duty of care to one another in some way. For example, vehicle drivers have a duty of care to follow traffic rules. Property owners have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their premises. When it comes to healthcare providers, they have an even greater duty of care as they are directly responsible for their patients’ health and well-being.
Because of this, the first element that needs to be proven in personal injury cases, including medical malpractice, is that the healthcare provider has a duty to provide the patient with a high standard of care.
The standard of care is the level of care a reasonable, prudent healthcare provider in the same specialty would have provided the victim under similar circumstances. This is why in medical malpractice cases, expert witnesses are called on to give unbiased testimonies in court or outside the court, such as in the arbitration process.
Expert witnesses are professionals in various fields relevant to the case. Regarding malpractice cases, for example, expert witnesses are almost always other healthcare providers, doctors, or other types of health specialists.
The second element that needs to be established in medical malpractice cases is that a breach of duty occurred. Essentially, the plaintiff (victim) needs to prove that their healthcare provider failed to provide them with the required standard of care.
This is where expert witnesses also play a huge role with their testimonies. Essentially, in this stage, it must be highlighted that the healthcare provider deviated from the accepted standard of care and that this deviation caused injury to the patient.
The third element that needs to be established in malpractice cases is causation. This is the stage where the plaintiff must prove that the injury would not have occurred if their healthcare provider hadn’t deviated from the required standard of care.
If the evidence is preserved and presented appropriately, and relevant expert witnesses give pertinent expert testimonies, it should prove that the healthcare provider’s breach of duty caused the injury.
The last essential element required in medical malpractice cases is proving that the victim suffered damages due to the healthcare provider’s breach of duty. In other words, their negligence, recklessness, or willful intent caused injury.
Damages aren’t only of a physical nature in medical malpractice cases. Other damages can be included, such as emotional distress, lost wages, and any other medical or out-of-pocket expenses.
To establish the elements needed to pursue and win a malpractice case, you need to document evidence as soon as possible and contact a medical malpractice lawyer to help with your claim.
You should record and keep all the receipts for your medical intervention, appointments, and prescriptions, including those that weren’t necessarily related to your injury but were used afterward.
For example, suppose your malpractice case resulted in your taking the wrong medication, and you suffered side effects. In that case, you can also show that you purchased other medications to treat or alleviate your symptoms.
Apart from medical records, photos, and receipts that prove your interaction with the healthcare provider and your injuries, you should also consider witnesses that can help your claim.
Some witnesses can be those who observed the procedure and how the malpractice occurred, but this is rare due to their relationship with the healthcare provider.
In other instances, witnesses can be your acquaintances who have seen how the procedure affected you and your quality of life. This will help you pursue non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Yet, the best witnesses you can have in medical malpractice cases are expert witnesses, which your lawyer can retain.
Medical malpractice cases are complex and challenging. Proving the elements of malpractice in court, mediation, or arbitration isn’t easy without a medical malpractice lawyer by your side.
Healthcare providers and medical institutions have powerful legal representation that they will use to try and disprove your claim or reduce your settlement amount.
For example, a healthcare provider’s defense lawyer might argue that your negligence aggravated your injuries. This is known as contributory negligence, and it can severely reduce your compensation or eliminate it completely, leaving you with nothing.
They will do whatever they can to diminish your claim since medical malpractice cases often lead to defamation. When a healthcare provider’s negligence is exposed, their reputation will take a big blow, and it’s only natural for them to defend their position vigorously and disclaim yours.
This is why having legal representation by your side is essential. Working closely with a reliable medical malpractice lawyer doesn’t automatically mean that you will initiate a medical malpractice lawsuit and go to court.
On the contrary, a lawyer can advise you to settle your case via mediation or arbitration, which is a different legal route that can help you get justice without needing to go to court. A lawyer will help you with all the paperwork involved, gather evidence, speak with witnesses, prepare expert witnesses for your case, and negotiate in your favor.
When the negligent party sees that you have a lawyer by your side, they will most likely accept a settlement rather than go to court, saving both of you a lot of time, stress, and money.