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Components of a Medical Malpractice Case

gavel-medical-deviceIf you have suffered an injury due to a doctor or medical professional’s negligence, you may have the option to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

However, there are several elements of a medical malpractice claim that you must be able to prove in order to file a claim against a medical practitioner. An experienced medical negligence attorney can help you prove these elements.

Doctor-Patient Relationship

To prove medical malpractice, you must first show proof that a professional relationship existed in which the medical professional agreed to provide you, the patient, with his or her service.

Establishing a doctor-patient relationship legally forms a duty of care, which means the medical practitioner is required to provide you with competent treatment.

A doctor-patient relationship can also be established if the medical practitioner agreed to diagnose you or provide you with treatment.

Proof of Negligent Care

After establishing a doctor-patient relationship, you need to show that the medical practitioner failed to live up to the standards of the medical community.

This means that your treating doctor did not follow the same standard of care that others with the same training would have provided under similar circumstances.

This will require you to compare your doctor to other professionals in his or her field of practice to establish a standard that he or she should have followed when treating you.

This is generally obtained by using testimonies from expert witnesses, such as other doctors, to explain how a competent and skilled medical practitioner should have performed in the same situation. The defendant will likely use this strategy as well to disprove your claim of negligence.

The expert witness will use the medical standard of care to precisely explain how your doctor failed to live up to that level of care when providing your treatment.

The witness will provide a detailed testimony comparing how the doctor acted while treating you and how he or she should have acted based on the medical community’s standards.

Connection Between Negligence and the Injury

Once you have established the doctor’s negligence, you need to demonstrate that his or her actions, or lack thereof, worsened your condition or caused you to suffer further harm.

You must be able to prove that your condition or injury was directly caused by the doctor’s sub-standard care and is not pre-existing or caused by another issue.

Damages Related to the Injury

The final step to bringing a successful medical malpractice claim is detailing the damages you suffered under the care of the medical practitioner. In order to recover compensation, you must have experienced monetary and non-monetary damages as a result of the medical professional’s negligence.

Damages can include medical bills, lost wages due to the injury or illness, as well as any mental or physical pain and suffering caused by the practitioner’s negligence.

While Pennsylvania does have limits to the damages you can seek in a medical malpractice claim, those limits are specifically reserved for punitive damages. These damages, which are reserved for especially malicious or reckless actions, are limited to two times the amount of actual damages in the claim.

There are no limits to the amount of economic or noneconomic damages you can seek in a medical malpractice claim.

Proof “By a Preponderance of the Evidence”

Proving malpractice by a preponderance of the evidence is the legal standard for malpractice claims. This means the evidence must show that it is more likely than not that you suffered injuries because of your doctor’s negligence.

You must convince the jury that it is “more likely than not” that the facts and evidence you presented are true and proves the doctor’s negligence.

The jury must view your facts and evidence as being at least 51 percent true, while the chance they are false is no more than 49 percent.

Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Doctors and medical practitioners are trusted with the health and safety of their patients with the intention of providing quality treatment.

While not every treatment is successful, patients who suffer because of a medical practitioner’s negligence deserve justice.

If you are attempting to file a claim against a negligent medical practitioner, you must act quickly. The state has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim, so it is important that you do not hesitate to pursue legal action.

The Harrisburg medical malpractice attorneys at Schmidt Kramer have the investigative skills and medical knowledge needed to bring a successful malpractice claim against a negligent health care practitioner.

We will dedicate ourselves to prove your malpractice claim and improve your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve. We can discuss the terms of your claim during a free, no obligation consultation.

All legal and investigative work we conduct on your behalf is provided to you on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay if we recover damages for your claim.

Complete our Free Case Evaluation form for a free, no-obligation consultation.