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Why Are Medical Malpractice Cases So Hard to Prove?

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Compensation is never a guarantee in a personal injury case. This is especially true in medical malpractice cases, which are known for being extremely difficult to prove. What does a victim need to prove in a medical malpractice case? What makes it so difficult to prove? Here’s what you need to know:

What Needs to Be Proven in Medical Malpractice Cases?

The key to recovering compensation in a medical malpractice case is proving that you were injured as a direct result of the healthcare provider’s negligence. First, the victim must prove that they were a patient who was being treated by the healthcare provider accused of negligence. Establishing the doctor-patient relationship is not difficult, but this is only the first step of proving negligence.

Next, the victim must show that the doctor was negligent because they failed to provide the same level of care that another doctor would have provided in a similar situation. Basically, this means you must prove that the doctor should have done something differently. Finally, the victim must prove that they were injured as a result of the doctor’s failure to do what they were supposed to do.

If these three elements are proven, the victim has successfully shown that the healthcare provider committed medical malpractice. To win in court, these elements must be proven “by a preponderance of evidence,” which means they are more than likely true. But, proving these three elements is not as easy as it may seem.

Why Is It Difficult to Prove Negligence in Medical Malpractice Cases?

There are many different factors that make medical malpractice cases difficult to prove, including:

The Complexity of the Evidence

Proving negligence in a medical malpractice case involves reviewing and analyzing incredibly complex medical information. It’s impossible for a victim to make sense of this evidence without the help of an experienced attorney. In fact, the evidence is so complex that attorneys often hire expert witnesses to help them figure out what it all means. The complexity of the evidence complicates the entire case and makes it more difficult to prove.

The complexity of the evidence can also make it more challenging to win a medical malpractice case at trial. Attorneys often ask expert witnesses to take the stand and explain the evidence so it is easier to understand. But, the jury may not completely understand some of the medical evidence that is presented, so they may mistakenly side with the defendant. Some jurors may find the presentation of the complex medical evidence boring. If they start to tune in and out of the trial, they could miss important information they need to hear to reach a fair decision.

Difficulty Finding Expert Witnesses

The healthcare community is tight-knit, so it’s hard to find a healthcare provider that is willing to publicly speak against another healthcare provider. Because of this, it is often hard to find reliable expert witnesses in the medical field that are willing to take the stand. However, an experienced attorney should know who to reach out to when they need an expert witness that is brave enough to speak out against a fellow doctor.

The Cost of Litigation

Most personal injury attorneys pay for expenses that arise during the course of a case and then reimburse themselves when their client wins compensation. Expenses are incurred in every personal injury case, but they are typically much higher than average in a medical malpractice case. If an attorney cannot afford to cover these costs upfront, they may not have the tools they need to build a solid case for their client. Fortunately, an experienced medical malpractice attorney knows exactly how much these cases cost, so they are prepared to cover the expenses.

Winning Over Jurors is Not Easy

Research has shown that jurors often give doctors the benefit of the doubt in medical malpractice cases. Many jurors are reluctant to side with the plaintiff unless it is proven that the doctor made an obvious mistake, such as leaving a surgical tool inside the victim. Because it is so hard to win over jurors, it is crucial that the plaintiff present a clear and convincing case that leaves them with no choice but to rule in the plaintiff’s favor.

Linking the Injuries to the Doctor’s Mistake

Proving negligence is only half of the battle–the plaintiff must also show that the negligence directly caused their injuries. The defense may argue that there’s no way of knowing whether the doctor’s negligence affected the plaintiff’s condition. They may argue that there are countless other factors, such as genetics or poor lifestyle choices, that could have worsened the plaintiff’s condition.

For example, let’s say a doctor told a patient he did not have cancer, but he actually did. Then, the cancer spread before the patient was properly diagnosed by another doctor. The patient may argue that he would have been able to stop the spread of the cancer if he had been properly diagnosed by the defendant. But, the defendant may argue that there’s no way of knowing for sure that treatment would have been successful in stopping the cancer from spreading. If the jury does not clearly see a link between the injuries and the doctor’s negligence, they will rule in favor of the defense.

Have you been injured as a result of a negligent healthcare provider? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Medical malpractice cases are known for being incredibly difficult to prove, but that won’t stop our team from recovering the compensation you deserve. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have won compensation in countless medical malpractice cases. Focus on recovering from this traumatic experience–let us handle the rest.

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Trial by Human

Nick Rowley founded Trial by Human, a nationwide legal education course to help trial lawyers improve their skills in the courtroom by "being human".