Most medical malpractice cases have galling details that make it seem clear that the plaintiff was victimized by a negligent, reckless medical professional or institution. However, the shock of the story isn’t what carries the day in the courtroom. To the contrary, facts and evidence are needed to establish a medical malpractice case, and for plaintiffs in these types of cases there are a few common paths they can follow to obtain justice.
First, there is the “res ipsa” doctrine. What this Latin phrase means is “it speaks for itself.” Res ipsa cases shift the burden of proof from the plaintiff to the defendant. In other words, the medical provider has to prove they are not negligent, as opposed to the plaintiff proving that the medical provider was negligent. This is allowed because the law recognizes that certain issues and difficulties are inherent to medical malpractice cases for the plaintiff.
Informed consent is another way that a medical malpractice case can be established. Physicians and medical providers are supposed to obtain the informed consent of a patient before they perform a procedure. If they fail to do this, any issues that follow could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Third and finally, most medical malpractice cases follow the structure of a traditional negligence lawsuit. This means the plaintiff must establish four things. They must establish a duty owed by the medical provider or doctor to the patient. They then must establish the standard of care for the plaintiff’s medical situation, and how the medical provider or physician deviated from that standard. Once established, a connection must be made between the deviation from the standard and the breach of the duty owed. Finally, the plaintiff must prove his or her injury suffered during the negligent medical care they unfortunately received.