How to Prove Medical Negligence
Introduction to How to Prove Medical Negligence
Generally described, medical negligence is any act of medical care performed by a medical professional which deviates from the adequate standard of care. Now, a patient wanting to file a claim for medical negligence would have to prove the respective deviation resulted in injury for which he may receive compensation.
Hiring an Expert Medical Witness
The legal proceedings involved in proving a medical negligence have to include hiring an expert medical witness. Such a person is usually a medical doctor herself having a similar occupation as the one who is, supposedly, the person responsible for acting negligently during the patient's care. The role of the expert medical witness in this case would be to examine the situation and give an expert opinion.
The Attributions of the Medical Expert Witness
The medical expert has to consider all the details of the case, and make a comparison against the accepted medical standard of care. With these elements taken into account, the medical expert witness has to determine potential treatment options that should have been applied according to the patient's health condition. If the expert decides the doctor accused by malpractice failed to conform to his duties according to the official medical standard, then this means the negligence has been determined and the legal proceedings may continue.
Now, although this sounds fairly doable in theory, reality has it that often times, in a case of medical negligence, these elements are incredibly difficult to prove in court.
Law Proceedings in the Case of Medical Negligence
Prior to establishing malpractice in a court of law, all members of the medical facility's staff will be questioned to determine the facts of the case. Also, the recordings associated with the patient's admittance and care will be used for bringing additional evidence for the case, and that evidence will be analysed by a team of experts. In the end, the expert medical witness will have to make his presence in court to testify in the patient's interest before the jury and the judge.
As if the matter of bringing a case of medical negligence to court is not complicated enough, there is another legal rule that may make the situation even more difficult and that rule is associated with the case in which a claim is brought late. Now, the law states that any personal injury legal action must begin within three years of the date when the patient took notice of the damage suffered as a consequence of the clinical negligence.
The problem with the norms in cases of medical negligence is that, sometimes, the patient may be unaware of the damage for several years. Exceptions do occur, for example, in cases of medical malpractice victims who are persons under a disability such as brain damage, there have been successful claims that have been brought to court many years after the medical accident occurred.
In the end, if the patient's solicitor believes there is a limitation problem, then he will proceed without further delay, asking for emergency legal aid if possible, in order to resolve the delicate situation.