Medical malpractice is harm caused to a patient as a result of negligence – whether it is a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or any other healthcare professional whose actions have directly impacted an individual’s health. When it comes to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, one must go beyond this simple definition and prove four essential elements to win their case.
The first element is often the most straightforward. A plaintiff must establish the defendant had a legal duty of care to them by means of a doctor-patient relationship. Second, a plaintiff must prove the defendant breached that legal duty of care. Some cases are more black and white than others. For example, if a surgeon left a medical instrument in a patient, this would be an obvious breach of duty. However, for less obvious cases, the testimony of a medical professional is often required to help support this.
Third, a plaintiff must substantiate the defendant caused physical harm in breaching the duty of care. This can come in the form of economic and non-economic damages. The last element goes hand in hand with justifying damages. There must be proof of a causal relationship between the defendant’s actions and the injury or injuries of the plaintiff. As such, would the plaintiff have suffered those injuries if not for their actions? Oftentimes, a professional medical opinion may be required to corroborate this in cases where a causal relationship is not quite apparent.
Medical experts are often the key to validating many of the required elements in a medical malpractice case. Medical procedures, diagnoses, and courses of treatment are complex and if the mistakes are not entirely obvious, testimony of an expert witness is also necessary.
At The Simon Law Firm, P.C. we have a skilled team of medical malpractice lawyers who represent patients in Missouri and across the nation. If you or a loved one fell victim to the negligence of a healthcare worker, call us for a free consultation at 855-809-7080.