As with many types of California personal injury claims, proving medical malpractice takes several steps. While plaintiffs and their attorneys often can readily prove that the doctor’s or institution’s standard of care fell below acceptable levels, proving that the substandard care resulted in harm is another story.
Medical malpractice is extremely complicated
Although some medical malpractice allegations are clear-cut, most are not. Establishing causation in claims is difficult because of other factors. For example, claims for delayed cancer diagnoses are difficult because many cancers are hard to detect and take repeated rounds of testing to determine a positive diagnosis.
Similarly, many different complications from surgeries can occur that are not the fault of the surgeon. Infections and other complications are generally accepted medical risks that patients should be aware of before they undergo a procedure. Even though we hear of the occasional news story where surgeons leave instruments inside their patients, these instances are few and far between.
The burden is on the plaintiff
Holding medical professionals accountable in medical malpractice lawsuits is difficult. The onus is on the plaintiff to prove negligence and causation. Putting together and proving the claim in court can be challenging. The plaintiff and their attorney will need to spend many hours together and gather pertinent documents to prove causation as many gray areas may exist. Plaintiffs may have to participate in a deposition during the discovery phases of the case, which can be nerve-wracking. If you feel that you or a family member have been the victim of medical malpractice, your best course of action is to consult with an attorney with extensive experience in this area of the law.