What is Involved in Medical Negligence Cases?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 17 June 2018
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Medical negligence cases usually require the patient to prove that he was was injured due to a mistake made by a medical professional. The first step is typically showing that the standard of care was breached, which usually involves defining what the expected treatment would be for the condition. The patient then typically needs to provide evidence that he was harmed by the mistake. In most medical negligence cases, this usually involves calling in an expert witness to show the court that the doctor in question caused damage to the patient, who deserves to be compensated.

The standard of care is the treatment that is expected for a specific situation. It often changes depending on the patient, their condition, and the location, as varying circumstances usually call for different treatment methods. The standard of care typically needs to be researched and defined for the court in most medical negligence cases, as not everyone is aware of what it is supposed to be. The expected care is then usually compared to the actual care received, often resulting in a decision on whether the doctor was negligent.


Just because a doctor was clearly negligent does not by itself mean that the case will be successful. This is because victims usually need to show that they have been injured in some way due to the negligence, leading to additional medical bills and months or years of suffering as a result. If no injuries can be proved, the case may be dismissed, even if it is obvious that the doctor missed a symptom or made the wrong diagnosis. Thus, medical negligence cases that do not involve injury do not typically make it to court.

Not only does the patient need to show evidence of injury, but he also needs to show causation, proving that the doctor's negligence led to some type of harm. This is typically the most difficult part of most medical negligence cases since the defense will often try its hardest to show that the doctor's actions had nothing to do with the patient's injury. Therefore, proving causation often requires the help of an expert medical witness, which is usually a medical professional who can explain to the court how the actions of the doctor in question led to the patient's injury. It may be hard to find a doctor who is willing to corroborate the patient's story, but the lawyer involved with the medical negligence lawsuit can usually help in this process.



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