When you sue your physician, dentist, pharmacist or any other professional on your health care team for medical malpractice, you must present clear and convincing evidence at trial to support your allegations.
FindLaw explains that simply sustaining an injury or developing an illness soon after your hospitalization, dental procedure or prescription drug ingestion is not sufficient.
Proof of medical malpractice
In order to win your medical malpractice suit, you must prove all five of the following:
- The defendant(s) owed you a specific duty of care.
- (S)he or they breached the required duty of care.
- You suffered an injury or became ill due to this breach.
- The breach served as the proximate cause of your injury or illness.
- Your injury or illness caused you the monetary damages for which you are asking the court for compensation.
As you might suspect, juries usually find it difficult to understand medical terminology and complex medical issues. You and your attorney therefore likely will need to hire expert witnesses to make your case to the jury in as simple and comprehensible a way as possible. You must be careful, however, about whom you choose to do this. His or her education, credentials and background must match those of the person you are suing. If you are suing more than one medical professional, you will need a matching expert witness for each of them. For instance, if you sue your surgeon, your expert witness must not only be a surgeon himself or herself, but (s)he must practice the same type(s) of surgery under the same or similar conditions.