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What Is Proof Of Medical Negligence?

LawMD

“What is proof of medical negligence?” is a common question people ask us concerning medical negligence cases.

 

Learn More:

What Are The Odds Of Winning A Medical Malpractice Suit?

Is Medical Malpractice Difficult To Prove?

What Constitutes A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

 

Video Transcript

Timestamps
0:00 Intro
0:10 What Is Proof Of Medical Negligence?
0:28 Proof From An Expert Witness
1:04 Forms Of Proof

0:10 What Is Proof Of Medical Negligence?

The question is what constitutes proof of medical negligence? In order to prevail in medical negligence cases, you’ve got to show that the doctorate of duty of the patient number one, number two there was a breach in the standard of care, number three is causation, number four damages. But those are just words.

0:28 Proof From An Expert Witness 

The proof as to all of those elements generally can only come from expert witnesses. Every court decides what evidence will go to a jury. A plumber cannot testify as to what constitutes negligence in doing a colon removal, colectomy because he doesn’t have any expertise in that area. He may be able to testify in a plumbing case, but not in a medical malpractice case.

1:04 Forms Of Proof

Proof can only come in the form of documents, in the form of live testimony or evidence depositions, which can be videotaped, certain kinds of documents like medical records, and only under certain circumstances, medical literature. Those can be introduced in an attempt to prove that the doctor breached the standard of care. That is to say, he or she did not do what a recent careful doctor would do or did something that no reasonably careful doctor would do or admitted something that they should have done. That can only come generally from one of those sources.

The testimony of a patient as to what the doctor should have done is generally not allowed, but the judge. Frankly to allow such testimony would probably be reversed on an appeal. When it comes to whether the negligence was the proximate cause of the damages, the injuries, that again requires expert testimony, expert witnesses, certain circumstances, medical literature, or other kinds of literature, and certain kinds of exhibits.

Of course, the same thing is going to apply to some parts of the damages, not pain and suffering. People can testify to their pain and suffering, and disability and inability to do the things that they could do before, enjoy, a loss of normal value of life. People can testify to those things, but to the cost of medical care or what additional medical care might be necessary for the future, and what the value the cost of that is ten years from now, those all require expert witnesses. Usually, doctors that are physiatrists, rehabilitation experts, and economists are to the value.

It’s one of the reasons that makes these cases so difficult to win because it’s so easy to confuse the waters, muddy the waters for jurors who have no personal expertise in these areas.

Once again, you have a question, I’d be happy to answer those questions if I can. I’ll give you my honest assessment.

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