How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?

Feeling like something was medical malpractice is one thing. However, you may wonder what it takes to prove that it was. Here are three things a medical malpractice lawyer will want their clients to understand when it comes to proving a case.

The Standard

The work of a medical malpractice attorney is considered a form of injury law. Injury law is part of the broader topic of civil law, and that's where the standard of proof for cases comes from.

Civil law dictates that a plaintiff must demonstrate that their side's argument is more likely than not the right version of events. You can think of this as a 51% standard, where the goal is to stack the balance of evidence at least slightly in your favor. A medical malpractice lawyer will happily keep stacking the argument if they have the chance to do so, though, because there's nothing wrong with piling on for the win.

Percentage of Liability

Likewise, another goal is to show that the defendant was the predominantly liable party. For example, the defense in a case involving a person with a spinal injury might try to assert that the plaintiff engaged in activities that made their injuries worse. A medical malpractice attorney would counter with evidence that the doctor's actions we what caused most of the injuries.

In nearly all U.S. states, the plaintiff has to show that the majority of the liability lands with the defendant. Otherwise, they won't be allowed to recover any damages.

Demonstrable and Serious Injuries

As unlikely as it sounds, a medical professional can, at least theoretically, mess everything up to an extreme level of negligence. The plaintiff's side must demonstrate that significant injuries occurred. Similarly, they must show that the injuries required medical attention that the plaintiff immediately sought. Lastly, they have to show that treatments cost a significant amount of money.

Where the injuries are located on the body also matter. A one-inch accidental cut from surgery on the upper arm probably wouldn't be compensable, for example. Conversely, if it was on the victim's face and didn't heal well, that would probably lead to compensation. The same goes for a highly utilized body part, such as the hand. Generally, the more valuable or visible an affected body part is, the more likely you'll get money for your injuries.

You'll also have to present medical bills from treatment. A medical malpractice attorney will present copies of the bills as part of a demand for compensation.