How to Prove Medical Malpractice

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

How to Prove Medical Malpractice

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

When we seek medical attention, we place our trust and well-being in the hands of medical professionals. We expect doctors to demonstrate a high standard of care when handling our health issues. However, there are instances when their actions fall far short of the required standards of professionalism and proficiency.

A study at Johns Hopkins found that medical errors in the U.S. are the third-leading cause of fatalities after cancer and heart disease. When a doctor’s actions result in injury, victims can file a compensation claim for injuries and losses caused by medical malpractice. To prove medical malpractice, victims must demonstrate that the doctor failed to uphold the proper standard of care when providing treatment, which led to injuries.

To show medical malpractice existed, you need the guidance of a medical malpractice lawyer. Our legal team at Malman Law is well-versed in medical malpractice claims, and in the following content, we will highlight the critical aspects of this process. By proving medical malpractice, you can build a strong case for a successful compensation claim.

Types of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice involves various forms of negligence or substandard care that can lead to patient harm. Some of these incidents may be deeply distressing, such as those that lead to permanent disability or wrongful death.

The common types of medical malpractice include:

  • Failure to obtain informed consent
  • Disregarding patient history
  • Misreading laboratory results
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Leaving surgical tools inside the body
  • Other surgical errors
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Patient misdiagnosis, such as misdiagnosis of mesothelioma symptoms
  • Poor follow-up or aftercare
  • Incorrect documentation of patient health data
  • Medication errors such as incorrect dosage or failing to consider potential drug interactions
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Premature discharge

Understanding these types of medical malpractice informs the kind of medical malpractice claim to pursue. If you suspect that you have experienced any of these forms of malpractice, an attorney can help explore your legal options for compensation.

How Easy is Proving Medical Malpractice?

Proving medical malpractice is a complex process. Similarly, seeking medical malpractice claims presents unique challenges to the victims.

Firstly, one has to deal with a complicated burden of proof. Medical professionals are highly educated and skilled individuals. Proving that a highly trained and experienced healthcare provider made a mistake can be challenging, as doctors use specialized methodologies and diagnostics that are beyond average understanding.

To question a healthcare provider’s judgment, therefore, specialized investigation is required. This includes the testimony of independent medical experts who can provide insights into the possible breach of the standard of care. An attorney can help find and engage these experts to prove medical malpractice and build a strong case.

Proving a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Court

To prove a medical malpractice lawsuit in court, the victim is required to demonstrate key legal elements.

Doctor-Patient Relationship

Medical malpractice claims are based on the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. This relationship forms when a patient seeks healthcare services, and the provider agrees to diagnose, treat, or provide medical care to the patient. This connection can be demonstrated by providing relevant medical bills and records indicating appointments and drug purchases.

A Doctor Duty Owed to the Patient

Once the doctor-patient relationship is established, the medical practitioner provider owes the patient a duty of care. This means the medical professional should provide treatment and care that aligns with accepted medical standards. The duty of care includes diagnosing conditions accurately, prescribing appropriate treatment, and adhering to established medical practices, among others.

Breach of Duty

To successfully file a medical malpractice lawsuit, there has to be evidence of breach of care by a medical practitioner. This breach occurs when the medical professional’s actions or decisions deviate from the recognized standard of care. This is where the process becomes challenging as it requires the involvement of expert witnesses who can testify about what constitutes acceptable medical practice in a given situation and how the defendant’s actions fell short of that standard.

The Breach Caused Injury

An essential element in a medical error case is proving that the breach of duty directly harmed the patient. Establishing a causal link between the healthcare provider’s actions and the patient’s suffering is essential. Medical records, expert opinions, and other evidence can help establish this connection.

Show the Resulting Damages

Finally, you must demonstrate that the breach of duty and resulting injury caused specific damages to the patient. These damages can include:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Psychological anguish
  • Loss of consortium

Your medical malpractice lawyer will help prove the extent of these damages for determining the rightful compensation the victim is entitled to.

What to Do if Suffered from Medical Malpractice?

If you have suffered from medical malpractice, report the incident to the Illinois Medical Board once you suspect medical malpractice. The medical board oversees the licensing and regulation of healthcare professionals. By filing a complaint with the board promptly, you help ensure the incident is documented and investigated. When filing a lawsuit, this documentation can help prove your case against responsible healthcare.

Next, you need to seek legal representation from a personal injury law firm in Illinois. An attorney can provide guidance and support in building a strong case. They will assist you in gathering the necessary evidence to prove the malpractice adequately.

In Illinois, you have a two-year window from the date you sustained injury to file a lawsuit. However, if the discovery of the injury takes longer, you may enjoy up to a four-year time frame. So consulting with an attorney as soon as possible is critical to ensure you don’t miss important deadlines.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Medical Malpractice Claim Review

If you believe you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, we recommend consulting with an  Illinois medical malpractice attorney immediately. Proving medical malpractice involves using several ways, and an attorney will choose the best way to go in building your case. At our firm, we will thoroughly discuss your case, assess the evidence, and determine the best course of action. The first step in seeking proper compensation for medical malpractice damages is to contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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