Medical negligence is a legal term that is often used interchangeably with medical malpractice. Negligence in a legal context is said to occur when a person suffers harm or injury due to the actions or inactions of another person. In this case, you have a person who is suffering physically or psychologically as a direct result of the actions or inactions of a person who is supposed to be their medical care provider. These persons could be their doctor, nurse, surgeon or any other medical professional directly responsible for their care.
There is a standard of care expected from doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who practice in the same field and there are rules that guide every medical procedure to ensure that the same standard of care is maintained at every level. When doctors fail to comply with these guidelines and deviate from standard practices, the care that provides to the patient is said to be compromised. And when a patient suffers as a result of their care provider’s disregard for the standard medical procedure, it can be said without a doubt that it is a clear case of medical negligence.
It is important to note that medical negligence does not only occur when a patient suffers harm. The law places its focus squarely on the fact that the standard for medical care was disregarded and the life of a patient was put at risk. However, when a patient actually suffers for this oversight, a case of medical negligence becomes a case of medical malpractice. Having made a clear distinction between both terminologies, the next challenge that most people face is proving that the doctor’s medical negligence has resulted in medical malpractice.
At this point, you must brace yourself for the difficulties that will be faced in an attempt to prove that a doctor or medical professional was negligent in their provision of care. However difficult it may be, it is very possible to prove this. For starters, you need to provide proof of the following;
- The existence of a prior relationship between the doctor and the aggrieved patient (you).
This helps to establish your history with the doctor you are suing. You want it to be known that the medical professional was indeed hired by you and the negligence happened as a direct result of this relationship. It would also establish of this person was your primary caregiver.
- Proof of the doctor’s negligence
The law is not interested in your opinion of the doctor’s methods. The focus is on his or her adherence to the standard medical care practice. If you can show how their methods in caring for you deviated from this practice, you should be able to prove negligence. After you have proven that the doctor or physician was neglectful of their duties, the next step is to show proof of how this affected you.
- Proof of injury resulting from the doctor’s negligence
For this part, you would need a medical professional who would be willing to testify to this fact as this is one of those hurdles that make it difficult to prove negligence. The reason for this is that chances are, the patient might already be suffering from a critical ailment making it harder to prove that the injury suffered is a result of negligence and not a progression of the ailment.
This is just a surface overview of the complexities that surround a medical malpractice case. The laws regarding this differ across states and it goes on to emphasise why it is essential that you get the right legal team who would help you navigate the legal hurdles to get you the justice that you seek.