They say the proof is in the pudding, but for medical malpractice cases, proof might as well be inside a magician’s hat.
Here one minute, gone the next.
Medical negligence lawsuits are notoriously hard to win because the plaintiff must follow several steps that lead to a favorable decision issued by a judge or a jury. Unless a defendant blurts out guilt in a civil courtroom, a plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorney has to submit conclusive evidence, as well as establish a direct relationship between a healthcare provider and one or more acts of medical malpractice.
Let’s answer the question, “How do I prove that my healthcare provider made a significant error?”
Step #1: Establish a Relationship Between the Patient and Healthcare Provider
The first and easiest step on the road to proving medical malpractice involves establishing a relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. Submitting a copy of the agreement that established the professional relationship between you and your healthcare provider is all it takes to move on from step one.
Step #2: Did Your Healthcare Provider Follow the Standard of Care?
Step number two boils down to one question: Did your doctor or another healthcare professional treat you by using the skills and knowledge that is the standard of care for your illness or injury? For example, if you broke your leg, did the orthopedist follow the standard of care that is associated with diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating fractured bones?
This step requires the testimony of healthcare specialists that describe what is the standard of care for a certain illness or injury.
Step #3: Connect the Dots
Your California medical malpractice attorney has to do much more than demonstrate your doctor did not follow the standard of care. This is the step where your lawyer presents evidence that by not following the standard of care for your affliction, your doctor caused you physical and/or emotional harm.
The key here is for your lawyer to prove that an underlying health issue did not cause you harm. Plaintiffs often refer to expert witness testimony during step three, but the most influential way to connect the dots between a healthcare provider’s negligence and any harm caused to you is to submit convincing Medical evidence.
Step #4: Submit Convincing Medical Documents
As the most important step, submitting medical evidence usually is the difference between winning and losing a civil lawsuit for medical malpractice. The most influential medical records concern the results of diagnostic tests, records that describe treatments, and prescriptions for medications.
Access Your Medical Records
According to the Health insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) you have the right to keep your health information private, but more importantly, you also have the right to request medical records from your healthcare provider. Healthcare providers cannot deny requests for medical records because patients have not paid all their medical bills. However, they can charge a small fee for making copies and mailing a patient’s medical records.
You can send a request for your medical records via fax, email, and snail-mail. When you send a request to your healthcare provider, make sure to include the following information.
- Your name and date of birth
- Email, address, and phone number
- Social Security number
- List of medical records that you want
Step #5: Provide Details of Harm Done to You
Now we get to the step that determines whether you receive monetary damages. Monetary damages cover the costs associated with medical bills, as well as lost wages. Non-monetary damages, which are much more difficult to prove, cover the costs associated with pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you receive non-monetary damages by asking for witness testimonies. Proving harm that leads to the awarding of monetary damages typically involves submitting medical records, such as the results of the diagnostic tests run by the doctor who treated you after the negligent doctor treated you.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
The burden of proof for a medical malpractice lawsuit is called “By a preponderance of evidence,” which is an easier burden of proof than “Beyond a reasonable doubt.” Nonetheless, you should work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who knows how to navigate through each of the five steps successfully.
Your lawyer can help you obtain the medical records that you need to prove your healthcare provider committed at least one act of negligence. A medical malpractice attorney also knows how to negotiate settlements that favor clients.