Legal Issues of Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases are extremely complex from the legal standpoint. Concepts like “informed consent” often make things even more complicated. Damage caps and proving negligence also affect these cases. There are many legal issues that come into play in medical malpractice cases.
The first legal issue in a medical malpractice case is the validity of the claim. It has to be determined if there is even grounds for a medical malpractice case. Failing health and worsening conditions are not always signs of medical malpractice or negligence.
Negligence must be proven before a case can proceed. Negligence is defined as a departure from the normal standard of care that a comparably educated doctor of similar skill would have administered in the same situation. It also encompasses reckless behavior and carelessness.
It is understood that not all patients respond to appropriate medicines as the majority. There is always a chance that a patient will not respond to the traditional treatment for any particular malady and worsen. Other cases are considered terminal, such as cancer, and will eventually cause death under any circumstance or treatment.
If the case proceeds to trial, both the defendant and the plaintiff will present expert medical witnesses to prove their points, either for or against a medical malpractice verdict. There must be sufficient evidence that there has been an instance of medical malpractice.
There are several clear cut instances of medical malpractice. Doctors prescribing wrong medications or wrong doses, operating on the wrong patient or leaving foreign objects in the patient’s body are all clear cut instances.
Having a strong medical malpractice case is the first step to winning in a trial. Having a strong medical malpractice case means proving a doctor-patient relationship as well as negligence and the harm caused by the negligence.
The harm must be directly caused by the doctor’s negligence to be considered valid. If a patient dies of congestive heart failure after hip surgery, there is no correlation. If a patient dies of a blood infection immediately after a transfusion, there is a direct correlation.
Proving the doctor-patient relationship will be the easiest task. If an appointment was made and carried out with the doctor and he prescribed a plan of care, a relationship exists. Proof of that relationship is documented by appointment calendars and prescriptions as well as doctor’s records.
There must also be a decision made as to who exactly is responsible. A deamination must be made between a hospital and an independent medical professional. Simply because the negligence occurred in a hospital does not make the hospital liable in all cases.
All proof must be by a preponderance of evidence. In legal terms this means that each point presented as evidence of malpractice must be apt to be true than not. The damages brought for in the case must be shown to be true. Damages can include any additional medical costs to correct or treat the damage caused by the negligence, lost wages and pain, suffering and emotional scarring.
Statutes of limitation are another big legal hurdle in medical malpractice cases. These statutes set for a time limit for medical malpractices cases and trials. As soon as negligence is suspected the victim should seek legal counsel. Time is of the essence in medical malpractice cases.
Consulting with an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice cases will shed some light on the cases validity and how to further proceed. Combining the medical world and the legal world into one case makes for some pretty complicated situations. Contact the offices of Moseley Collins today for the best chance at a successful recovery from a medical malpractice case.