Why Is It So Hard to Prove Medical Malpractice?
You recently had a medical procedure done and something went horribly wrong. You’ve been saddled with high medical bills and you’re not able to function day to day like you used to. Now, you’re thinking about suing your doctor for damages. The only thing is that you’ve heard it’s very hard to prove medical malpractice. It is! But, with the help of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, you could very possibly recover the damages you deserve.
Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with medical malpractice cases. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that’s rightfully yours.
All About Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice happens when a doctor, hospital, or some other healthcare professional injures a patient because of a negligent act or an omission. There is a standard of care for all healthcare professionals, and they must work to uphold it, or else they could be found to have been negligent.
There are different types of negligence that factor into a medical malpractice case. A doctor may perform an unnecessary surgery, ignore or misread lab results, not diagnose a disease or misdiagnose a disease, not do proper follow-up or aftercare, not recognize symptoms, make surgical errors, fail to order proper tests, prematurely discharge a patient, or fail to give the proper medication and dosage. The types of acts or omissions that involve doctors are endless.
Here are some examples that could apply to your situation. Perhaps you went into the doctor because you were having stomach issues. They said you were just experiencing acid reflux and possibly had an ulcer and didn’t prescribe you any tests or any medicine. The problems persisted and you went to another doctor, who tested and told you that you have stomach cancer and put you on a treatment plan right away. That first doctor might have been negligent with their misdiagnosis. The consequences could be extreme, even to the loss of your life.
In another scenario, maybe you were given the choice to elect for surgery for a health condition or take prescription medicine instead. You chose surgery, but your doctor did not explain to you important information like the dangers and risks and side effects that surgery could cause, the long recovery time, and the fact that it had little chance to work. Failure to divulge those crucial details could lead to severe damages that you did not know were even possible, evidencing another form of medical malpractice.
To know if your doctor was negligent and could be sued for medical malpractice contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Why? They know the ins and outs of medical malpractice law, which is very complicated. The legal system does not make it easy to prove malpractice and, if you try to get compensation without representation, you are not at all likely to succeed.
The Difficulty of Proving Medical Malpractice
The law favors doctors. After all, if it were easy to sue a doctor, nobody would want to go into the healthcare profession, and we would all suffer. The courts don’t want to set a precedent that suing a doctor is simple, so the burden of proof on the plaintiff is very high.
There are a variety of things we need to prove in order to have a valid case. First, there has to be an established doctor-patient relationship, where you can demonstrate that the healthcare provider you’re suing was, in fact, treating you.
It must also be demonstrated that the healthcare provider was negligent (they did not uphold a standard of care that a doctor on their level would have provided in a similar situation). This requires expert evaluation and testimony.
Then, we must show that failing to uphold that standard of care and acting in a negligent manner caused you injury. And, we must prove that your injury was so bad that it led to significant financial losses, damages.
Healthcare issues are very complex, and it takes much more than a lawyer with a great track record to prove negligence. They need to engage experts, other doctors with a similar standing, to evaluate the case and say that your doctor did not uphold the standard of care. If your case goes to trial, they are necessary to explain complicated healthcare matters to a jury and to convince them of the malpractice.
A firm needs to know and have experts available, and understand the time it takes to prove malpractice.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that a medical malpractice lawyer of any stature is only going to take on your case if practicalities support it. In other words, many require your medical malpractice damages to be very significant. If you only lost a few hundred dollars, for instance, that’s not worth the time, money, and energy that are required to pursue your case, and you likely won’t be able to find representation.
A defendant will point out other possible contributors and may say that you were a number of other factors that were contributing to your health problems. They will state that they told you the known risks and they received your fully informed consent, even if that is not true.
Your lawyer must know what may be available to combat these defenses and get the evidence you need to prove the medical malpractice.
Evidence for Proving Medical Malpractice
Along with medical records, films, x-rays, scans, lab work, there is some other evidence that could be helpful for your case. This includes bills, correspondence, receipts, photographs of your injuries, witness statements, and tax returns or pay stubs to show a loss of income, and many other things! Your medical malpractice lawyer will be able to help.
Remember that your medical malpractice lawyer is not going to charge you anything unless they can get you compensation. But results are never guaranteed.
Get in Touch With Heiting & Irwin for Help
If you are dealing with an injury and you believe medical malpractice is to blame, then it’s time to find a medical malpractice lawyer to represent you. Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many, many medical malpractice cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to start your case now.