Medical malpractice cases are not easy to prove. Extenuating circumstances can make even the most open and shut case difficult to win. One cannot sue for medical malpractice only because they had an unfortunate outcome while in the hospital. A successful malpractice case must establish the following four things:
- Standard of Care – This is loosely defined as the actions that a reasonable healthcare professional in a community would take in similar circumstances. Healthcare professionals have a duty to provide you with a standard of care. What is considered reasonable will vary depending on the type of healthcare professional and the particular community. In other words, the standard of care in a small, isolated town may be different than a state-of-the-art hospital in a large city.
- Negligence or Breech of Standard of Care – Once the standard of care is established, it needs to be proved that the healthcare professional did not meet the standard of care. Negligence of care can occur at any point during a hospital stay. In order to do this, it is common to call on a qualified physician to testify as an “expert witness.” This physician must state that in their expert opinion, the course of action taken by the healthcare professional was unreasonable, inappropriate, or unnecessary.
- Negligence Caused Injuries – Once substandard care is established, it must be proven that it was this negligence that directly caused the damages, injuries, or death – or, at the very least, that the mistake contributed to the worsening of the condition.
- Liability and Damages – Once this has been established, then the claimant is entitled to damages (compensation for medical bills, lost wages, monetary compensation for pain and suffering). Damages also cover the expected losses in wages and livelihood in the future.
If you live in New Jersey or the Philadelphia metropolitan area, contact the medical malpractice attorneys Weiss & Paarz today to determine if you have a valid malpractice case.