Showing Causation to Prove Your Case
When you are the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, you have to prove that the defendant failed to maintain the proper level of care. You must also show that the defendant indeed had a duty towards you and that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the injury. It is also required that you prove that in some way the defendant’s negligence was what caused any damages that you are claiming. This is known as causation. In order to prove causation is a hard task in malpractice cases, especially since medical training is needed to identify and understand. Medical professionals are used to determine whether it was possible for an injury to occur due to the actions that were taken by the defendant. If you feel that you are the victim of medical malpractice, it is advised that you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to look over your claim.
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Different Types of Causation
There are two main types of causation: proximate cause and actual cause (also known as cause-in-fact). In the case of actual cause, the plaintiff is only injured due to the doings of the defendant or when the defendant took an action that resulted in a foreseeable injury. Proximate causation is when the plaintiff’s injuries can be attributed to the defendant’s actions when all other factors have been taken into account.
Usually, the defendant’s defense typically revolves around providing proof that other factors were the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. For instance, the argument could be brought forth that the plaintiff had a pre-existing condition, usually the same one that was being treated by the defendant. The defendant can also argue that the plaintiff’s negligence was what caused the injury, but this has to be proven. It can also be argued in the defendant’s defense that even if his or her doings didn’t follow standard medical practice, the changes made didn’t change the outcome. It is also possible for the medical professional to determine an intervening or superseding cause that is liable for the injury.
Requiring Expert Testimonies for Your Case
Since medical malpractice is a complex subject matter, it is oftentimes required for an expert to be present to provide a testimony that supports causation. The expert is there to explain to the jury about the circumstances around the injury and the standard of care. The expert will also talk about the defendant’s actions and whether they failed to meet the standards of medical practice. Experts can be presented on both sides of the case, leading to a battle between the two. The jury will then decide who’s facts hold more weight for the case. The only time an expert isn’t needed is if the treatment or surgery was basic or obvious enough for the average person to understand.
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Res Ipsa Loquitur
If the plaintiff is able to prove that his or her injury was the result of a surgery or other medical procedure, but isn’t able to pinpoint the cause, he or she can claim the doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur. This is an option only if the plaintiff’s injury couldn’t have occurred without some form of negligence by the defendant. This doctrine translates to “the thing speaks for itself.” With this doctrine, the plaintiff is only required to show two things: that the injury was sustained and that the injury wouldn’t have happened if the medical professional wasn’t negligent. One example of such case is when a medical instrument is found left inside of a patient after surgery. The following has to be proven by the plaintiff:
- The injury isn’t attributable to an actual cause.
- The injury wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t from some type of negligence.
- He or she is not responsible for the injury in any way.
- The defendant or an employee of the defendant was in sole control over the devices that were involved in the injury.
- No other instrument could have caused the injury.
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Call an Expert Medical Malpractice Lawyer
To increase your chances of winning a medical malpractice case, you’re going to need to prove causation. For most people, understanding the technical and complex aspects of such cases can be hard. This is why it’s recommended that you consult with a medical malpractice attorney regarding your case. At Dansker & Aspromonte Associates in New York, NY, we can help you gather the proper documents needed to prove your case.