Proving Fault In A Medical Malpractice Case

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Finding fault in a medical malpractice case is often a very difficult task. There are two items that must be identified: injury and negligent that led to the injury. Both must be present to effectively prove fault on the behalf of the medical staff.

The most important factor is clearly drawing a connection between the negligent act and the subsequent injury. The events that lead from one to the other must be chronological. Negligent act 'A' must lead to injury 'B'. The events between the two points must be present and also ordered. The patient records are the best way to prove or disprove the connection. Documented failure to follow the informed consent agreements, such as gaps in patient visits (frequently missed treatments and/or appointments), failure to follow dietary restrictions on the patients part; and refusal to adhere to treatment protocol or deviations from the informed consent agreement on the physician's part can be proven in patient medical records. These documents can end a malpractice case very quickly in either direction. Furthermore, medical facilities that alter or falsify documents are subjects to higher penalties and will often have to pay more compensation.

Another important factor is standard of care. The presence or absence of appropriate standard of care is vital to a malpractice case. The patient must prove that they did not receive the standard of care that they were entitled to. Meanwhile, the doctor must attempt to prove that the administered care to the patient was done exactly as it would have been at another facility, with a different doctor. Both cases usually hinge on the testimony of expert witnesses who will use their own experience to either confirm or deny that the care received fit the standard of care.

Expert witnesses can also prove or disprove res ipsa loqitar, which literally means 'the thing speaks for itself.' This defense is a simpler form of the standard of care argument in that it only requires proving that the injury was not possible without the negligent event. It is a defense used frequently on a patient's behalf; however, it can be used to benefit the doctor. The doctor would have to prove that the injury could have only happened if the patient was negligent.

These are just a few of the most common ways to prove fault in a medical malpractice case. As with any legal matter, an attorney must be consulted to effectively build a case for or against medical malpractice

The time frame in which you have to file a claim for medical malpractice is called the 'statue of limitations'. In some states, the statue of limitations is generally two years from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered. However, in some circumstances you may have up to four years to file your claim. These rules do not apply to minors. It is always best to contact an attorney upon your first inclination that there is a problem with your medical care to avoid missing the window of opportunity to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires.
When an individual becomes ill, they entrust their well-being and trust into the medical professionals taking care of them. All decision making regarding testing, treatment and aftercare rests solely on the doctor. It is very important to report any instance of medical malpractice that you encounter in order to prevent it from happening to someone else in the future.

Medical professionals have the safety of their patients in their hands and they are responsible for providing the care that will benefit their patients in the most positive way. And if they fail to do so, patients are strongly urged to seek out legal representation who can advise on the appropriate actions to be taken.


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