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Why It’s So Hard to Prove Medical Malpractice Cases

Doctor consulting with medical staff

Victims of medical professional negligence are entitled to compensation for their injuries. But unfortunately, many medical error victims never recover the compensation they deserve. No personal injury case is ever considered an “easy” win, but this is especially true for medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice is one of the most complex areas of personal injury law—mainly because it is so difficult to prove negligence in these cases.

What Plaintiffs Must Prove in Medical Malpractice Cases

There are several elements that a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must prove in order to recover compensation. The first element is the existence of a doctor-patient relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff. This is easily proven with medical records that show the defendant was the plaintiff’s healthcare provider at the time the medical error or other incident of medical negligence occurred.

The second element of a medical malpractice case is the hardest to prove. The plaintiff must show in the malpractice suit that the defendant was negligent because they failed to provide the same level of care that another doctor would have provided in a similar situation. To put it simply, the plaintiff must show that the doctor, nurse, or other medical professional made a medical mistake that another competent provider in the same role would not have made under those circumstances.

Proving negligence is not enough to win a medical malpractice case. The victim must also prove that the healthcare provider’s negligence directly led to their injuries. All three of these elements must be proven by “a preponderance of evidence,” meaning the jury must believe that they are more than likely true.

The Factors That Make Proving Liability Difficult in Medical Malpractice Cases

Proving the three elements of a medical malpractice case is not as easy as it seems. There are a number of factors that make it harder to prove medical malpractice liability, including:

Complex Evidence

The evidence that is presented in medical malpractice cases is incredibly complex, so people without a medical background may find it hard to understand. Even the injured patient themselves will have a hard time interpreting the evidence despite the fact that it is related to their own healthcare.

The complex nature of the evidence is one of the main reasons why medical malpractice cases are so complicated and difficult to prove. If an injured patient cannot understand their own healthcare complications and medical records, imagine how hard it is for the jury to make sense of this complex evidence in a medical malpractice claim. Attorneys usually rely on expert testimony witnesses to take the stand and simplify the evidence in a way that the jurors can understand. However, it’s possible that the jury will still misinterpret some of the evidence concerning the medical treatment and side with the defendant as a result of this misunderstanding.

Listening to someone talk about complex medical records is not very interesting, either. Because of this, members of the jury may find it hard to pay close attention to the testimony of the medical expert. If they let their minds wander, they could miss important information that they need to hear in order to truly understand the plaintiff’s case.

Lack of Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses play an important role in medical malpractice cases. However, it is sometimes hard to find an expert witness who is willing to take the stand and testify against a fellow doctor. Many people in the healthcare community would rather support their colleagues than go against them in front of a courtroom full of people. Fortunately, the best medical malpractice attorneys will know exactly who to call when the need for expert testimony arises.

The Cost

Personal injury attorneys usually pay for expenses that arise during a case and then get reimbursed through the compensation that the client is awarded in a settlement or courtroom verdict. However, the expenses that arise in medical malpractice cases are typically much higher than those incurred in other personal injury cases. Some attorneys may not be able to cover these expenses, which means they won’t have access to the tools they need to build the strongest case possible for their client.

Juries Favor Doctors

Studies have shown that most juries tend to side with the doctor accused of medical malpractice instead of the victim of the medical provider. This does not, however, mean that it’s impossible to win a jury trial. These studies have shown that juries will side with the plaintiff as long as they have presented the medical negligence case in a way that makes the malpractice seem like an obvious medical mistake. If the mistake is not obvious, the jury may end up giving the physician the benefit of the doubt.

Linking the Injuries to Negligence

The plaintiff must convince the jury that the doctor’s negligence contributed to the  injuries they sustained. But, creating this link between the doctor’s negligence and your injuries is challenging. In order to challenge your  medical malpractice claim, the defense will most likely argue that there are many other factors that could have contributed to the plaintiff’s condition, and that the injuries suffered were a  “known risk” for which they received “informed consent” documenting the known risks.

Get Help from an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Have you been injured by a negligent healthcare provider at their medical facility?  If so, contact Carpenter & Zuckerman as soon as possible to discuss your case. It’s not easy to win a medical malpractice case, so you will need an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner.

Our medical malpractice law team will work tirelessly to build a strong case that proves your healthcare provider’s negligence directly led to your injuries. Then, we will fight for both the economic damages and noneconomic damages you deserve.

We serve clients throughout the entire state of California. Our offices are located in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Garden Grove, Irvine, San Diego, Bakersfield, and Las Vegas.

Call us today for a FREE consultation using the phone number below, or by filling out our online form. You pay no fees unless we win.

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