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Proving If You Have A Medical Malpractice Case

By: Aaron Crane

When a health care provider is negligent and causes an injury to a patient, the patient may have a medical malpractice claim. Medical negligence happens when a doctor or other provider deviates from the accepted standards of care. Not all injuries that happen when a person is under a doctor's care will mean that a claim exists, however.

In a medical malpractice case, the injured victim that files the lawsuit is called the plaintiff. He or she will have the burden to prove that his or her injury was caused by medical malpractice, entitling him or her to compensation. In order to prove a case, a plaintiff must prove each claim element by a preponderance of the evidence. Under this standard, the jury should decide that the plaintiff's argument is a more likely explanation than not. In a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must prove the following elements:
A health care provider and patient relationship existed
The health care provider was negligent
The negligent acts caused the injury the patient suffered; and
The patient suffered damages as a result1. Establishing a relationship between the health care provider and the patient

The first thing you will have to prove is that there was a relationship established between your health care provider and you as his or her patient. While this sounds like it would be simple, it can sometimes be hard. For example, if you went in to get a procedure done just because you overheard a doctor tell other people about it at a party, it is unlikely you will be able to establish the required relationship. Even if the doctor consulted on your case but was not directly involved in treating you, you may be unable to prove this initial element.

2. Establishing negligence

You will also have to prove that the health care provider acted negligently. In some cases, an injury may happen simply because it was a risk of the procedure itself. This also might happen when there are other unknown factors that were present at the time. There could also have been things that happened that were beyond the health care provider's control. If this is true in your case, you will have trouble proving negligence. In other cases, it is obvious. For example, if a doctor leaves behind an object in your body after surgery, that is obvious negligence.

You might be able to prove that the health care provider was negligent by showing that he or she deviated from the accepted standard of care. These standards are based on what other similar doctors would do in the same type of situation. It will be based on the reasonable actions of doctors in the same specialty and the same geographical location. In order to prove that the doctor's actions did not meet the standard of care, you may need the help of a medical expert. An expert can tell the jury what the standard of care is and how competent and reasonable doctors would have handled the situation.

3. Proving that the negligence caused the injury

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Aaron Crane is an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Phoenix, AZ with over 12 years as a practicing personal injury lawyer familiar with medical related negligence.

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