Understanding the Burden of Proof in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Having to deal with further illness or injury after you’re already suffering can be devastating, but things can take an even more troubling turn when you discover that your condition was brought on by irresponsible or negligent conduct of someone on your medical team. 

Cases like these are known as medical malpractice, and individuals who are harmed by their caregivers in this way are often entitled to compensation from the negligent medical professional(s) who were charged with caring for them. 

However, medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most difficult to win in the US, which is why you should understand what the burden of proof is if you are considering a civil claim. Continue reading to learn more about how medical malpractice is defined and who can be sued in these types of claims. 

What is Medical Negligence?

In many states, before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit, your case will need to be heard by a medical review board. This will generally consist of a team of healthcare providers and at least one attorney for medical malpractice. The review board is tasked with examining the details of your case to ensure that you do, in fact, have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

You may be wondering what these grounds are and how you’ll know before your hearing if you have a case. So, first, let’s take a look at the medical standard of care: You may have heard of the Hippocratic oath that physicians take when they first become doctors, first indicating to do no harm. This ties into the medical standard of care, which essentially describes the competency and skill level of practicing medical professionals. 

When this standard of care is compromised, a medical malpractice claim can be filed. The medical review panel is going to be looking at the case to determine if another healthcare provider of similar training, education, and experience would have made the same medical decisions as the one in question, and if it is determined that they would not have proceeded similarly, then the medical review panel should give the go-ahead for the medical malpractice lawsuit. 

Who Can Be Sued?

In a medical malpractice claim, nearly any healthcare provider who was a part of your treatment and care can be held accountable. Some of the most common medical professionals that have medical malpractice lawsuits brought against them include physicians, surgeons, obstetricians, pediatricians, midwives, nurses, and even the hospital itself.