The legal implications of medical negligence are important to understand if you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a medical professional’s carelessness.
With medical malpractice cases, it isn’t enough to prove that a doctor or other health care professional made a mistake; you must also prove negligence. Also referred to as breach of duty, establishing negligence for a lawsuit involves showing that a doctor, nurse or other medical professional failed to abide by an accepted standard of care. Most malpractice cases hinge on proving medical negligence to the court.
What Is the Accepted Standard of Care in a Malpractice Lawsuit?
Negligence and breach of duty for a malpractice claim are established by measuring the actions or inactions of the health care professional against generally established medical standards of care.
These standards are generally defined as the accepted method or methods of treatment used by other competent and skilled professionals in the same community who have comparable backgrounds. In other words, a breach of duty can be proven in a malpractice lawsuit by showing that similarly trained health care professionals would have made different decisions under the same or similar circumstances.
How Is the Standard of Care Determined for a Legal Claim?
The medical standard of care for a malpractice case is established by examining the actions or inactions of the accused and comparing them to those of other area medical professionals with comparable qualifications. Locality is a big consideration in determining the medical standard, as doctors are generally required to possess the same caliber of skill and level of knowledge as other practitioners in the same geographic region.
Establishing the medical standard also involves comparing treatment and care for patients under similar circumstances. It is accepted that the standard can change, depending on the patient’s age and health issues. For example, the recommended treatment for a retired smoker with frequent asthma attacks may greatly differ from the care advised for a teenage athlete with infrequent asthmatic issues.
How Can Medical Negligence Be Proven for a Malpractice Claim?
With most medical malpractice lawsuits, expert witness testimony is necessary to demonstrate the standard of care. Qualified doctors or health care professionals must testify regarding the actions a reasonably skilled doctor would have taken in the same situation and how the accused’s deviation from that standard caused harm.
A skilled attorney will guide the expert witnesses through testimony to clearly show that the accused failed to provide appropriate care and that negligence occurred.
The medical standard of care in a malpractice case can be challenging to interpret and complicated to prove. If you have questions about a potential malpractice claim, contact the professional attorneys at Rasmussen and Miner in Salt Lake City. Our compassionate legal team is highly experienced in malpractice and negligence lawsuits, and we will fight to obtain the appropriate compensation for your injury. Call to schedule your free consultation today to discuss any medical negligence matters.