How Do You Prove Negligence?
To successfully secure a settlement in a serious or catastrophic injury case, you will need to prove that the at-fault party acted in negligence, leading to your injuries. Proving negligence in a catastrophic injury case is the same process as other personal injury cases.
To prove negligence in a personal injury case in Kansas City, you and your attorney will need to work together to satisfy the following four elements.
You will need to prove that the person or entities responsible for your accident owed you a duty of care in some way. For example, if you lost a limb in a car accident, you can prove this element by the fact that all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road by driving safely and following all traffic rules.
Breach of duty
You will need to prove that the at-fault party breached his or her duty of care to you in some way. For car accidents, proving that the other driver caused the collision or broke a traffic rule, leading to the collision, can help satisfy this element. If you fell down broken stairs in your apartment complex and suffered a spinal cord injury, you can prove a breach by providing evidence that your landlord knew about the broken stairs and failed to fix them.
You will need to prove that the breach of duty of care led to your serious or catastrophic injuries. You will need to provide evidence to satisfy this element, such as surveillance footage, medical records, and correspondence. This will involve significant investigation on the part of you and your attorney.
You will need to prove that you suffered damages as a result of the serious injury that you can collect in your lawsuit. These damages can be both economic and non-economic in nature, such as emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you suffered a serious or catastrophic injury as a result of medical malpractice, the elements to proving negligence are very similar to standard personal injury cases.
Medical Malpractice Occurs When A Doctor, Nurse, Or Other Medical Professional Breaches His Or Her Duty Of Care And Causes Harm To You In The Process
Existence of doctor-patient relationship
The first step to proving negligence in a medical malpractice case is to establish that you and the medical professional had a doctor-patient relationship. You can prove this element by showing that you were under the doctor’s care in a professional capacity at the time of your injury. If you took advice from a friend who happens to be a nurse, you cannot establish a duty of care. However, if the nurse treated you in a hospital setting, you can prove this element.
Breach of duty
Next, you and your attorney will need to prove that the medical professional breached his or her duty of care to you and failed to uphold professional standards. You will need to prove that the doctor’s actions were contrary to what a similarly trained and educated doctor would have done. Your attorney may need to consult with expert witnesses to prove this element.
Injury caused by the breach
You will need to prove that the medical professional’s actions caused your injuries. For a medical malpractice case, this can be very difficult because it is very likely you visited the doctor for treatment of the same or another condition. For example, if the doctor ignored your symptoms of meningitis and the progression of the condition led to a loss of hearing, you will need to prove that the doctor’s ignorance led to your injuries. This element may also involve consultation with a medical expert and other medical professionals who provided treatment to you.
You will need to prove that your injury led to damages you can collect in the lawsuit. This element is similar to personal injury cases. You can only claim damages related to the injury you suffered as a result of the breach, not the condition you visited the medical professional to treat. Your attorney can help you determine which damages are eligible for your settlement.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Serious Injuries in Missouri?
The statute of limitations is a deadline under which you must file your lawsuit, or the Missouri civil court will refuse to hear your case. For personal injury cases, you have five years from the date of the injury to file your case. However, if you did not and could not become aware of your injury until a later date, you have five years from the date of discovery to file your claim.
If your case involves any government agencies or employees, the statute of limitations is much shorter. You only have 90 days from the date of your injury and you must file it with the Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division. If your case involves medical malpractice, you have two years from the date of the injury or the date of discovery to file your claim.
Have You Or a Loved One Been Seriously Injured In Kansas City, Missouri?
If you've been injured in the Kansas City area you should speak with an experienced serious injury lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.