What Is the Burden of Proof for Medical Malpractice in Missouri?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on May 3, 2021
If you have suffered injuries due to the actions of a healthcare provider, you may qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Under Missouri law, victims of medical negligence have the right to claim compensation for additional medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other types of damages. However, you will need to prove that the medical professional’s actions deviated from the industry’s accepted standard of care.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to a healthcare provider’s failure to uphold his or her professional duty of care to a patient. He or she can breach the duty of care through a negligent act or a failure to act. In a medical malpractice claim, you will need to prove that the at-fault provider’s actions differed from what a similarly trained and reasonably prudent professional would have done under the same circumstances.
Examples of medical malpractice include the following.
- Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition properly
- Failure to order the proper diagnostic tests for a patient’s symptoms
- Administering the wrong dose of anesthesia
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part
- Leaving a foreign object in the body after surgery
- Failure to monitor a fetus’s vital signs
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
- Failure to provide proper aftercare or follow-up instructions
- Failure to take or pay attention to patient history
How to Prove a Missouri Medical Malpractice Claim
Under Missouri law, you have the right to file a lawsuit against any medical provider who causes you harm—including physicians, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians. However, you will need to prove the at-fault party’s negligence in order to secure compensation in your claim. To accomplish this, you and your attorney must provide sufficient evidence to support four key elements.
- Duty: The at-fault provider owed you a duty of care. All medical professionals owe a duty to follow the accepted standard of care while treating patients. However, you will need to prove that the at-fault party treated you in a professional capacity, such as at a hospital or clinic. Your medical records can prove this fact.
- Dereliction: The at-fault provider breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or omission. You will need to compare the provider’s actions to what another medical professional would have done in the same situation. Your attorney can enlist the help of expert medical witnesses who can provide insight into the at-fault party’s actions.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your injuries. You will need to prove that you would have not sustained additional injuries or a worsening medical condition if not for the actions of the medical provider. Evidence such as additional medical evaluations, journal entries, and expert witness testimony can prove causation.
- Damages: You sustained damages as a result of the at-fault provider’s actions that you can collect in your lawsuit. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. You may need to supply documents such as medical bills, paystubs, and correspondence with your employer to establish your right to compensation.
Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Missouri is not a simple task. While the elements of negligence may seem straightforward, you will require a significant amount of evidence to support your claim and establish your right to damages. In these situations, a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney can supply the experience, resources, and skills you need to build a compelling case for compensation. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.