What Your Attorney Needs to Prove in a Medical Malpractice Case

Posted on behalf of The Nye Law Group on Jan 10, 2017 in Medical Malpractice

doctors performing surgeryMedical malpractice claims are complicated – people who file these claims have to prove several things to have a chance of securing a favorable outcome.

Not only do you have to establish that a medical professional was negligent in providing medical treatment, but you also have to prove the medical professional's negligence caused you to suffer damages.

Below are the five elements of a Georgia medical malpractice claim.

Doctor-Patient Relationship

This means the medical professional accused of negligence agreed to provide treatment or diagnose your illness or medical condition. You must show that this relationship existed on the date of the alleged malpractice.

This aspect of a medical malpractice claim often goes unchallenged. It is usually easy to provide medical documentation or testimony proving:

  • An agreement to treat or diagnose you
  • You were examined or treated by a medical professional without an agreement

However, it is still a good idea to obtain medical records showing the complete course of treatment. If the accused is able to show there was no doctor-patient relationship when the alleged malpractice occurred, the relationship does not exist.

Negligent Care or Treatment

The doctor-patient relationship gives rise to the physician’s duty of care. This requires the health care practitioner to act as another healthcare professional with similar training would have if he or she were in a similar situation.

Another way of saying it is that medical professionals must provide care that fits within accepted standards in the medical community.

Expert witnesses may be used to establish what competent care would have been in your situation according to standard medical practice and how the doctor failed to deliver care to that standard. You may also need to use clinical practice guidelines from medical professional groups to establish what the standard of care was in your situation.

There are many examples of failing to perform within medical standards, including:

  • Failing to diagnose an illness
  • Diagnosing a patient with the wrong illness
  • Performing unnecessary surgery
  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part
  • Performing surgery without consent
  • Operating without a surgical plan
  • Medication errors
  • Failing to order necessary tests
  • Incorrectly analyzing medical tests
  • Failing to take a patient history
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failing to monitor a patient for signs of distress

Under Georgia law, you are required to file an affidavit accusing the defendant of at least one negligent act. The affidavit must be prepared by a medical expert who is qualified to testify under Georgia law. This person must provide a factual basis for the allegation of negligent care.

Injuries Were Caused by Negligence

Proving that the physician provided substandard care is not enough. You must prove that the doctor's actions directly caused you to suffer injuries.

Expert testimony may be used to link your injury or worsening medical condition to the substandard care you received. This is crucial because the defense will probably try to attribute your injuries to an underlying medical condition that was not caused by a medical professional.

Proof of Damages

You are required to provide details about the damages caused by your injuries, whether they are physical, financial or emotional.

Damages in a malpractice case could include:

  • Additional medical care
  • Lost wages due to your inability to work
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation

Preponderance of Evidence

This means the medical malpractice claim is more likely to be true than not. This means the jury will make a decision in favor of the plaintiff if there is at least a 51 percent chance his or her claims are true.

It is easier to satisfy this legal standard than the legal standards used in other cases. For instance, in a criminal case, the plaintiff's claims have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Given the complexities of medical malpractice cases, it is best to consult an experienced Savannah medical malpractice attorney to file a claim.

The Savannah medical negligence lawyers at The Nye Law Group will fight to hold negligent physicians and medical professionals accountable for the damages they have caused. We will also aggressively pursue all of the compensation you are owed.

Call 855-856-4212 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form.

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About Nye Law Group

The personal injury lawyers at The Nye Law Group have a strong reputation of standing up for the rights of those who have been injured throughout Georgia and South Carolina.

We are committed to fighting for justice and compensation for injury victims who have suffered because of another’s negligence in auto accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and many other situations.

We offer personal injury victims a free consultation to discuss their legal options. YOU OWE US NOTHING UNLESS WE RECOVER COMPENSATION FOR YOU.

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