Proving Medical Malpractice in Maryland: Key Elements and EvidenceSeptember 25, 2023
Medical malpractice cases are not necessarily considered the most straightforward personal injury actions to win. After all, you are trying to prove that a doctor failed to live up to the duty of care that they owed you. This task is not simple, especially when juries may be inclined to respect and believe a doctor. Nonetheless, winning a medical malpractice case is possible when you can meet your burden of proof. Then, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation.
Medical malpractice cases use the same legal standard as any other personal injury case. You must prove that the doctor was negligent.
The four elements of negligence are as follows:
- The medical professional owed you the duty of care.
- They breached their duty of care by acting unreasonably under the circumstances.
- You suffered an injury.
- The doctor’s carelessness was the proximate cause of your injuries.
The second and fourth elements are the most difficult to prove in a medical malpractice case. These elements will be where you focus the bulk of your efforts.
In assessing whether the doctor breached the duty of care, they are compared to an average doctor of their training. A local surgeon may not be expected to have the same skill and training as the preeminent expert in the field. Further, a doctor is not expected to prevent all adverse outcomes in every case. To win your case, you must show that the doctor did not do something the average doctor would have done.
You are the one with the burden of proof in your case. If you cannot meet your burden of proof, you will not be eligible for financial compensation.
Filing an effective lawsuit requires that you take the jury back to the doctor’s office or hospital and recreate what happened in your case. In response, you must demonstrate your condition and show what the doctor did or did not do.
First, you would need your complete medical records and treatment notes that the doctor made. Legally, these belong to you, although the doctor or hospital may not make it easy to get your medical records, knowing that they may form the basis of a malpractice lawsuit.
Your lawyer would usually use expert witnesses to prove your medical malpractice case. They would hire an expert in the specific field in which the doctor worked. Some doctors work as experts. They should have the experience that would qualify them to give expert testimony in court. Then, the doctor would give their opinion of what they would have done had they been faced with your circumstances. They will compare the doctor’s actions to what the reasonable doctor would have done and argue why they fell short of the acceptable standard of care.
Proving Causation in a Medical Malpractice Case
One of the other major things you would need to prove is that the doctor’s actions caused your injuries. Defendants will often argue that your injuries would have happened anyway, regardless of what they did. You have the burden of proof to show that you would not have been injured without the doctor’s carelessness. Again, the testimony of an expert witness will be instrumental in establishing that the doctor was the cause of your injuries.
Contact Our Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton
If a medical professional’s negligence has injured you or a loved one, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are here to help. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Lanham, and Owings Mills, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.