How Do You Prove Causation in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Proving causation in a medical malpractice case requires both medical and legal knowledge. Success depends on more than just demonstrating that you were injured. It must be proven that a medical professional was negligent when caring for you or a loved one and that their negligence caused harm.
Of course, medical errors can cause harm. Injuries, illnesses, and complications caused by medical malpractice are alarmingly common, and these conditions often leave patients facing life-altering or life-threatening consequences. If you have experienced harm as a result of medical malpractice, here is an overview of what it may take to prove it.
Proving Causation in a Medical Malpractice Case
Some of the key steps involved in proving causation in a medical malpractice case are as follows:
Collecting Your Medical Records
Evaluating your medical malpractice claim will begin with the collection of your medical records. This information will be essential for proving causation.
Medical records identify many facets of your health, serving as a reference for healthcare professionals to comprehend your medical background and devise an appropriate course of action based on your present state. If you have scans, test results, or any other records (or if you can access these through your healthcare provider’s online portal), you should gather them to share with your attorney. If you don’t have access to any of these records, your lawyer can obtain them from your healthcare provider on your behalf.
It is crucial to work with an attorney during this stage. Medical records can be difficult to understand, and you may find it challenging to extract meaningful information from them. Even if a medical document indicates an error made by a healthcare provider, without the guidance of a medical malpractice lawyer, you may not realize its significance.
Furthermore, the diversity of healthcare and medical records adds to the complexity. With the advent of electronic logging of health data, one might assume that accessing essential information would be more convenient, but requesting records from healthcare providers can be an intricate process. Your attorney can help obtain the information you need to prove causation.
Hiring a Medical Expert
Proving causation in a medical malpractice case also involves hiring the right medical expert. To prove your claim, your lawyer will obtain a written report and expert testimony from a doctor.
Rhode Island law provides that, “only those persons who by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education qualify as experts in the field of the alleged malpractice shall be permitted to give expert testimony as to the alleged malpractice.” As a result, choosing a qualified medical expert is important, and you will need to rely on your lawyer to choose an expert who is capable of assisting with your claim.
Conducting a Legal Analysis
After gathering your relevant medical records and consulting with a qualified medical expert, your medical malpractice lawyer will conduct a legal analysis. This analysis will focus on three key questions:
- Based on the evidence that is available, did your doctor make a mistake that rises to the level of medical malpractice?
- If your doctor made a mistake that rises to the level of medical malpractice, did this mistake cause you harm?
- What exactly is the harm?
Using Your Medical Records and Expert Testimony to Prove Your Rights
A knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney will review the evidence and consult experts to determine (a) the extent and nature of your losses and (b) the monetary value of your losses in the case. You may be entitled to recover damages for the following:
- Medical expenses related to the injury or condition
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Cost of home/vehicle modifications and assistive devices (e.g., a wheelchair, a prosthetic limb, etc.)
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
- Pain & suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The medical malpractice lawyers at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd. have successfully helped victims of medical negligence for more than 45 years. Attorney Mark Mandell has won more 7 and 8 figure verdicts and judgments than any other lawyer in Rhode Island’s history. We have been recognized by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers as the Best Law Firm and Lawyer of the Year in the areas of medical malpractice, personal injury, and more.
If you were harmed as a result of medical negligence, we encourage you to contact our office right away for a FREE case review. Call (401) 273-8330 or request an appointment online today.