Liability and Negligence in Medical Malpractice Cases
Posted in Medical Malpractice on August 10, 2020
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is a complex process. You will need to determine who to hold liable, identify the at-fault party’s negligence, and supply enough evidence to support your claims. These questions of liability and negligence are crucial to proving a medical malpractice lawsuit; while your attorney will advise you on the best course of action, understanding these concepts will help you better grasp the gravity of your claim.
Who Can You Hold Liable in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
You will need to identify the at-fault party or parties in your claim before you can file your lawsuit. Any healthcare professional can be liable for medical malpractice, including nurses, doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians. In certain cases, you may be able to file the lawsuit against the hospital or clinic where the malpractice occurred.
When filing a claim against a professional or group of professionals, you will need to prove that the at-fault party cared for you in a formal setting, such as a hospital. Malpractice occurs when the professional breaches his or her duty of care, and a medical professional only owes you a duty of care in a formal environment. You cannot file a claim against a doctor friend who provides advice to you at a party, for example.
You can file a claim against a hospital or other medical facility under three circumstances.
- The at-fault medical professional was an employee of the hospital.
- The at-fault medical professional was an independent contractor, but the hospital failed to inform you of his or her contractor status and he or she appeared to be an employee.
- The at-fault medical professional was an independent contractor, had a history of negligent or dangerous behavior that the facility knew about, and the facility failed to take action against him or her.
Your attorney will help you identify who you can hold liable in your lawsuit, depending on the circumstances surrounding the malpractice and your resulting injuries.
Proving a Case of Medical Malpractice
To receive a settlement in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to highlight the at-fault party’s negligence. Proving negligence in medical malpractice cases involves establishing the following four elements.
- The medical professional owed you a duty of care at the time of the malpractice.
- The medical professional breached his or her duty of care and deviated from the applicable standard of medical care through a negligent act or omission.
- The breach of care directly caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries that you can collect compensation for.
For example, say that you visited a doctor at a clinic after suffering from intense shortness of breath and blood in your spit. The doctor misdiagnoses your condition as asthma, but upon visiting an emergency room a few months later, you discover that you have advanced lung cancer.
You can prove that your doctor owed you a duty of care, since you visited him at a clinic. Coughing up blood is a major indicator of lung cancer, and with the help of a medical expert witness, you can establish that he or she breached his or her duty of care by ignoring this symptom. Your attorney can gather evidence to support your injuries and subsequent need for damages, such as witness testimony, medical records, and scientific research.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Medical Malpractice Case?
Filing a lawsuit against a medical professional or hospital can be a daunting task without an attorney on your side. Proving negligence in these cases requires knowledge of medical standards and the specific ailment or injuries you are suffering from, which a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney can provide.
Your attorney can connect you with the resources and experts necessary to prove your claim, as well as use strategies from previous cases to prove your need for damages to the court. If you have not contacted a lawyer already, schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options.