Medical malpractice is when the medical treatment you receive fails to meet an acceptable standard of care. If you have suffered medical malpractice, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent party. The at-fault party in a malpractice lawsuit may include a healthcare facility, a doctor or any other healthcare professionals. When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the burden of proof lies upon you. You are required to prove that the negligence of the alleged party directly resulted in your injury or suffering. Causation is an important point to consider in such a case. A Tampa medical malpractice attorney can help with this.
Causation is the link between a party’s neglect and your injury as a plaintiff. If you can show that a direct link exists between the two, you may be able to recover suitable damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, if the causation in your case is unclear or not directly established, your lawsuit may be ruled in favor of the defendant.
Types of Causation
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, two types of causation are usually considered. These are the actual cause or cause-in-fact, and proximate cause.
Actual Cause: Actual cause is when you suffer an injury that would not have occurred ‘but for’ the negligence of the defendant. This is a more straightforward form of causation. In simple words, this type of causation establishes that the negligent actions of the defendant directly led to your injury. If you can demonstrate actual cause in a malpractice lawsuit, your odds of winning the lawsuit are very high.
Proximate Cause: This type of causation is more complicated. Proximate cause basically demonstrates that the actions of the defendant very likely caused the injury. In doing so, all other factors are considered and it is shown that the defendant’s negligence is the largest contributing factor.
In addition to the standard types of causation, you may also make use of the legal doctrine of ‘res ipsa loquitur’ when demonstrating causation in medical malpractice. This doctrine translates as ‘the thing speaks for itself.’ It is used when it is very clear that the negligence of the at-fault party caused an injury but you are not able to pinpoint the exact cause. In such a case, you can plead that the negligence is the obvious cause of the injury, as there can be no other cause.
Why Is Causation Important?
A medical malpractice lawsuit is quite complicated when compared to other personal injury lawsuits. This is because many factors are at play and it can be hard to distinguish one from another. You may have a pre-existing condition that has symptoms similar to your malpractice injury. The injury you incur may be caused by other unrelated medical problems.
This is why it is important to establish causation in a malpractice lawsuit. Causation clearly shows that a direct and contributing link exists between the defendant’s negligence and the plaintiff’s injury.
The concept is similar to that of duty of care and the breach of duty of care. In personal injury cases in general, you must demonstrate that the plaintiff owed you a duty of care. You must then show that the plaintiff was guilty of breaching this duty. And that this breach directly caused your injury. The same concept, when used in medical malpractice cases, is generally called causation.
Malpractice Causation and Expert Witnesses
Medical malpractice cases involve highly specialized evidence. It is hard to understand and use this evidence in court arguments if you don’t have medical training. This is why medical experts are frequently called upon to comment on medical evidence. They testify as to whether or not the conduct of a doctor or healthcare professional in a given situation met the acceptable standard of care. The testimony of such experts is crucial in determining causation in a malpractice lawsuit.
Hiring a Lakeland Medical Malpractice Attorney
A medical malpractice lawsuit is fairly complicated. You have to process medical evidence, seek expert testimony, prove causation, and rule out many related factors. As a plaintiff, the responsibility for proving malpractice lies entirely upon you. Then there’s the matter of the Statute of Limitations. Florida has a two-year statute for medical malpractice cases. So you must file a malpractice lawsuit, complete with evidence and testimony, within this time period.
On your own, you may find it very hard to take care of all these aspects of a malpractice lawsuit. This is where a Tampa personal injury attorney can help you.
Here at Burnetti P.A., we work with malpractice victims to seek suitable compensation from the at-fault party. We help you prove causation in a court of law and also solicit testimony from relevant experts to support your claim. This significantly increases your odds of winning a lawsuit and getting a fair compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact us today for a FREE consultation and discuss your case with a Lakeland medical malpractice attorney.