Medical malpractice lawsuits are not typical legal filings. Doctors and medical professionals enjoy extensive professional latitude when treating patients, especially with regard to a diagnosis. Many medical problems require several medical testing procedures to arrive at an accurate analysis of the information. There are certain aspects of a blood analysis that point to certain diseases, but medical science is not always exact until the specialists begin investigating the disorder.
Legal claims against a medical facility may be easier to prove in a court room, which is a significant concern for the malpractice attorney. It is incumbent on the plaintiff to prove that a mistake was made in diagnosis, along with an additional injury which occurred through the negligence of the respondent medical professional who acted based on the mistaken diagnosis.
For a malpractice claim to be valid, the plaintiff attorney must prove to the court that the injury was a result of negligence on the part of the facility or the physician. A negative diagnosis or unsatisfactory outcome does not mean you are a medical malpractice victim, according to Williams Law Association, P.A. Negligence is a requirement; a mere mistake in diagnosis or prognosis may not be recoverable.
Courts recognize doctors are human, just like the patient, and mistakes happen regularly in the medical field. All evidence in a malpractice case is not material, which means that the fact has a direct application to the claimed negligence. There must be an actual injury beyond the treated condition resulting from direct causation by an action or inaction of the respondent medical professional.
Negligence and Standard of Care
There is a general duty of care in the medical profession that is similar to the negligence of a reasonable duty of care involving general personal injury lawsuits. Standard of care is established by the “expert” testimony of second and third-party medical professionals who offer neutral opinions about treating and diagnosing a particular medical problem.
These experts are usually specialist physicians whose testimony is approved by the court as the most accurate opinion available. The testimony also gives the court and the plaintiff attorney a “standard” which can be used as a treatment barometer. Second and third doctor’s opinions are often implemented by the defending insurance company also, especially when these opinions differ markedly.
An Experienced Attorney
Medical malpractice lawsuits are always defended vigorously by both the medical professionals and the insurance companies. It is important to understand that there are multiple respondents in all medical malpractice suits. Each defendant will have their own team of lawyers providing legal input in denying the claim. This obviously can make a malpractice case complicated when all evidence is provided, but the burden of proof is still a preponderance of the evidence.
Preponderance is a “weighing” of the evidence and is not automatically based on the amount of evidence, as one particular fact in a case can be the dominant material fact. It is important to have an experienced attorney who understands how to continually apply that dominant fact in the legal argument over evidence.
Most states require any medical malpractice suit be approved by the court of jurisdiction through a formal hearing prior to the actual court filing. The court will then allow the plaintiff attorney to proceed with the case. This initial hearing is not the actual evidence discovery procedure of the lawsuit. The initial hearing is a review of what the plaintiff asserts has happened and why it has happened. The respondent can ask for summary dismissal, but this is rarely granted with an experienced and active medical malpractice attorney who is also adept in professional negotiation in all stages of the case.