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What must you prove in a medical malpractice case?

You likely already know that should your physician or anyone else on your California health care team negligently diagnose or treat you in such a manner that you sustain an illness or injury, you can sue him or her for medical malpractice, as well as the practice, business or corporation that employs him or her. What you may fail to realize is that preventable medical errors are so prevalent today that they have become the third leading cause of death in America.

When you sue someone for medical malpractice, however, FindLaw explains that you will have to prove the following five things:

  1. That the defendant(s) owed a duty of care to you
  2. That (s)he or they breached their duty
  3. That because of their breach, you became ill or injured
  4. That their breach served as your injury’s proximate cause
  5. That you sustained personal and financial damages as a result of their breach and your consequent illness or injury

Expert witnesses

Since few laymen, including judges and juries, possess much technical medical knowledge, you and your attorney likely will need to rely on expert witnesses at trial in order to explain these things. Just be aware of the fact that each of your experts will need to have the same medical degree as one of the defendants. In addition, (s)he will need to practice in the same specialty and perform the same types of procedures. Why? Because each health care professional practices under a different standard of care and your experts must practice under those same standards.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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