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Proving causation in a medical malpractice claim

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2021 | Medication Errors

Any patient in California who wants to prove that a medical provider is responsible for their suffering needs to prove causation. However, linking a doctor’s actions to the resulting physical damages may not be as simple as it seems.

Determining the cause

To present any claim, the plaintiff must prove that the medical provider behaved in a reckless or negligent manner that did not conform to approved standards of care. The first step in the process of determining medical malpractice is to establish the acceptable standards of care. Second, the plaintiff must gather evidence to prove that the provider’s level of care fell below acceptable standards. Third, it’s necessary to prove that this below-average level of care was a direct cause of the patient’s injury or illness.

Proving the cause

Sometimes, showing proof that the provider’s care is directly linked to the problem is difficult to prove. The most common examples of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, failure to act in a timely or efficient manner, incorrect administration of medication and surgical mistakes. With the help of X-ray images, a plaintiff might prove that the provider accidentally left an instrument in the patient’s body after surgery. A patient’s record could show that a doctor made a wrong diagnosis. However, it’s more difficult to prove that a surgeon did not act fast enough to prevent a patient’s injury.

Prepare the case

Even the most experienced health care providers can make mistakes that lead to medical malpractice claims. Proving causation is often the most difficult yet necessary part of making a claim because the plaintiff must gather sufficient proof that the patient’s injury is the direct result of the provider’s actions.