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What Evidence Can Help You in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can compromise your health, alter your quality of life, and drain your finances. While instances of malpractice range from conditions that go undiagnosed to surgical instruments left inside patients, doctors should always be held accountable for their mistakes. To win a medical malpractice case, you will need to present evidence of your doctor’s negligence, the resulting injury, and the damages you incurred.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor causes injury to a patient during the course of treatment. By definition, for malpractice to have occurred, these four statements must be true:

  • There was a patient-doctor relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant
  • The defendant did not uphold the standard of care
  • The patient suffered physical, financial, and/or emotional harm
  • There was a direct causal link between the defendant’s negligence and the plaintiff’s damages

One of the most important aspects of arguing a medical malpractice case is demonstrating that the defendant did not uphold the standard of care. In the medical and legal professions, the term “standard of care” refers to the basic level of care that doctors must provide for their patients, including following safety protocols, diagnosing conditions with enough time to address them, prescribing the right treatments, and acting with competence.

What Evidence Can You Use in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Your Medical Records

In a malpractice case, medical records are the best indicator of how a doctor’s negligence adversely affected the plaintiff’s health. While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects your medical records, you can obtain them by making a formal request at the practice or the hospital where they are kept. Some healthcare systems will allow you to access your records quickly via an EMR (electronic medical record).

In some cases, diagnostic tests might be used to show that the plaintiff’s condition worsened because their doctor did not prescribe treatment in a timely manner. In other cases, prescription papers might be used to show that the plaintiff was instructed to take the wrong medication. If the malpractice case centers around a surgical error, medical records will be needed to prove how the injury occurred and what measures were needed to treat the harm caused by the mistake.

Your Health Journal

While a journal is more subjective than a copy of your medical records, an account of how your injury affected your day-to-day life can be helpful if you decide to pursue damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress. As soon as you begin to suspect that something went wrong with a medical treatment you received, you should start keeping a journal of how you feel each day.

An Expert Witness Testimony

In order to sue a medical professional for malpractice, the plaintiff is required to petition a medical board for a notice of the right to sue. As part of the review process, the board usually requires the plaintiff to provide an expert witness who can testify that malpractice occurred. During both the board review and the trial, the expert witness must affirm that:

  • The defendant failed to uphold the standard of care
  • The defendant’s negligence resulted in bodily harm to the plaintiff

A personal injury attorney who specializes in medical malpractice can help you enlist a medical expert to testify on your behalf. You can get more information  . In addition to validating the plaintiff’s claims, expert testimony is an essential way to convey the facts of the case to the judge and other members of the court who are not versed in medical terminology.

Medical Literature

In malpractice cases, articles from peer-reviewed medical journals and other literature from the medical community are used to establish what protocols and standard treatments should have been followed, according to the patient’s specific condition. When information from credible medical literature contradicts the actions of the defendant, the plaintiff can argue that malpractice occurred. Presenting and interpreting the medical literature is usually the expert witness’s responsibility.

Your Accounting Records

If you are pursuing compensation for lost wages as a result of your injury, you will need to show evidence of the time you needed to take off from work and your normal rate of pay. Your lawyer will most likely recommend that you submit pay stubs, tax returns, and possibly a note from your HR department. If your doctor’s negligence permanently reduced your earning capacity, medical malpractice attorneys in Maryland can argue that you must be compensated for both future and current lost wages.

Proving medical malpractice requires that you show substantial documentation of your injury and your damages. It is essential for you to work with an attorney who is familiar with the legal protocols regulating how evidence is presented. Even if the doctor who harmed you agrees to settle outside of court, having a strong body of evidence can result in a higher settlement offer. Whether you walk away with a settlement offer or take your malpractice case to trial, adequate compensation is an essential aspect of your recovery.