What must you prove in a medical malpractice case?

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Medical malpractice lawsuits represent some of the most complicated court cases. Why? Because few nonmedical people, probably including you, understand medical terms and procedures. This makes it difficult for a judge and jury to comprehend exactly what happened to you and how your health care professional’s negligence caused it.

In addition, as FindLaw explains, you must clearly and convincingly prove specific things regarding the defendant(s).

Burden of proof

To prevail in your medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to prove the following:

  • That each defendant owed you a separate duty of care
  • That they breached their duties, giving you substandard care instead
  • That you suffered an illness or injury due to these breaches
  • That the breaches constituted the proximate cause of your illness or injury
  • That because of your illness or injury, you suffered damages that the defendants should pay for

Expert witnesses

You can compellingly testify as to the injury or illness you suffer as a result of the defendant(s)’s medical malpractice, its physical and emotional consequences, and the expenses you have already encountered and likely will encounter in the future. But your testimony alone will not be sufficient. You will also need testimony from expert witnesses, including from physicians who subsequently examined and evaluated you and your condition.

Choose your expert witnesses carefully. Each one’s credentials, background and current practice must coincide with that of one of the defendants. This provides the credibility needed to convince the judge and jury of the corresponding defendant’s breach of his or her duty of care that resulted in your illness or injury.

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