Blog How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?

How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice typically occurs when healthcare providers or doctors injure patients by failing to provide a professional standard of care. Missouri had 32.86 malpractice claims per year per 1 million residents between 2012 and 2016. Moreover, there were almost 0.9 annual claims for every 100 practicing physicians. Then how to prove medical malpractice?

A patient can suffer harm through the actions or inactions of a medical provider, making it even more difficult for medical malpractice to be proven. According to BMC Health Services Research, some injuries do not manifest immediately following medical procedures or treatments. So, at times, it is very difficult to attribute them to the doctor or healthcare provider.


Types Of Medical Malpractice

Types Of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can happen in all areas of medicine. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice claims include: 

  •     Surgical errors such as the wrong procedure or leaving equipment in patients’ bodies
  •     Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
  •     Incorrect medication or dosage
  •     Failure to identify symptoms
  •     Poor aftercare
  •     Premature discharge
  •     Misreading laboratory results
  •     Disregarding patient history 

It is not just doctors or nurses who can be held responsible for medical malpractice; pharmacists, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, facility staff, or pharmaceutical companies can also be responsible. Certain errors in these fields prove medical malpractice. 

How to Prove Your Medical Malpractice Case

How to Prove Your Medical Malpractice Case

The last thing you expect when seeing a healthcare professional is for them to act negligently or commit wrongdoing that can cause injuries or death. Sadly, Johns Hopkin’s study shows that almost 225,000 people die each year from medical malpractice in the United States.

Statistics show prove medical malpractice is the third most common reason for death after heart disease and cancer. On the other hand, only 2 percent of those who suffer from medical malpractice ever file claims to seek compensation. If your doctor has committed malpractice, you should follow these steps to file a claim.

1. Seek Legal Help

The first step you should consider when proving medical malpractice is hiring an experienced attorney to investigate the matter. A lawyer will check all your medical records and get opinions about them from other medical professionals.

2. Prove that a Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed

An essential step and prove medical malpractice, the case is that you had a doctor-patient relationship with your healthcare provider. You can do so by obtaining copies of the documents you completed at the first meeting with the health care provider.

3. Prove that a Duty of Care Was Established

The doctor-patient relationship states that the doctor owed you a duty of care that meets the accepted, professional standards. A duty of care clearly specifies the legal obligation of the medical provider to offer services that meet the standard accepted in the medical community.

4. Proving Breach of Duty of Care

At this stage, you need to prove medical malpractice that the health care provider did not uphold their obligations. When proving a breach of duty of care, you must consider the two-step process. 

  1. Firstly, a third-party medical professional must determine the accepted medical standard of care for your situation. The medical expert needs to work within the same field as the professional you are accusing and provide testimony explaining what a competent and skilled health care provider would have done under similar circumstances.
  2. The professional will examine your medical records and the health care provider’s actions to determine if they failed to meet the accepted medical standard of care.

5. Prove that the Breach of Duty Was the Primary Cause of Your Injuries

At this step, you need to prove medical malpractice was responsible for your injuries. If you cannot prove that the healthcare provider’s negligence caused your injuries, it could be difficult to prove malpractice. Your injuries can be proven by expert testimony and your medical records. The expert will again explain how the medical errors caused your injuries.

6. Prove that Your Injuries Caused Damages

The next step is proving that the injuries from the medical negligence caused damages. Those damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional suffering, disfigurement, permanent disability, cost of future medical care, mental anguish, and other economic and non-economic damages. 

You can seek compensation if you can prove that the injuries caused damages.

7. Build A Strong Case

To prove medical malpractice, an attorney will gather all the information and evidence needed to prove each of the legal elements in the steps mentioned above. The attorney will present evidence that the health care provider was negligent and caused your injuries and damages. 

In addition, they will determine the value of your medical malpractice case, write a demand letter, present it to the insurer of the party at fault, and negotiate with them for a fair settlement.

Missouri Statutes of Limitations

The time limit to the file is enough to prove medical malpractice; a lawsuit in Missouri is two years from the date the injury occurred. If your case involves foreign objects in your body or the doctor failed to inform you of the medical test results, then you have two years from the date the injury was discovered to file a lawsuit. 

If you believe you were the victim of medical malpractice, you need to act as fast as possible. Hipskind & McAninch, LLC advises you to report your case to the Missouri State Medical Board and seek legal advice from an experienced medical malpractice attorney. 

According to My Medical Score, it is estimated that 7,000 to 9,000 people die every year due to medication errors. The New England Journal of Medicine states that 99% of physicians face at least one lawsuit by age 65.  

When seeking medical help, try to check the doctor’s reputation first. You might discover that previous patients sued the doctor, or they have a high rate of medical errors and misdiagnosis. Medical malpractice can happen at any medical facility, so do all the research you can before using the services of a healthcare provider. 

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