If you want to succeed on your medical malpractice claim, then you’ll need to prove certain legal elements. The first hurdle that you’ll face here is proving causation. Causation is nothing more than showing that the defendant, who is probably a doctor in your case, not only breached the applicable standard of care, but that their breach was a direct cause of the harm that you’ve suffered. That sounds easy enough, right?
Well, the matter can be more complicated than you anticipate. And if you’re inadequate in preparing your case, then you could be caught flat-footed in settlement negotiations or court, which can throw your recovery into jeopardy.
How do doctors fight causation?
Medical professionals who are being sued for medical malpractice have several ways to attack causation. Let’s look at some of them here so that you’re more informed about what you’re up against as you head into your case:
- Something else caused your harm: You might think that your case is straightforward. You might have clear evidence that your doctor provided you with inadequate care that breaches applicable standards, and you might think that there’s a clear link between those actions and your injuries and damages. But the defendant in your case will get creative in finding other causes for your injuries despite the defendant’s own negligence. For example, they’ll oftentimes point to your medical history as a complicating factor that would’ve caused you harm even if the doctor in question hadn’t acted negligently.
- There was an inevitable outcome: In some instances, the defense will argue that even though the medical provider was negligent, the evidence shows that it had no impact on the ultimate outcome. This might be seen in circumstances where errors in the treatment of a stroke or heart attack occur, but that the patient still would’ve suffered irreparable harm even if the negligence hadn’t occurred.
- Lack of indirect causation: Sometimes multiple individuals are responsible for medical malpractice. While some of those medical professionals directly breach the applicable standard of care, others do so indirectly, such as when their unwarranted delay in treatment leads to another medical professional’s direct malpractice that leaves a patient harmed. If you’re going to make a contributory argument like this, then you need to ensure that you can draw a clear nexus, otherwise the defense will attack your case here.
In most cases, the defendant is going to utilize medical evidence and expert testimony to try to attack your claim of causation. For this reason, you need to have a firm understanding of the facts of your case and how to interpret the medical evidence at hand before entering the legal arena. This can take a lot of legwork, but it’s necessary to protect your claim as fully as possible.
Are you ready to build a comprehensive case?
A successful medical malpractice case requires a lot of work. If the thought of dealing with everything involved with it has you nervous, then you might want to consider seeking out help. While you can try to identify and secure your own medical experts to testify on your behalf, you’ll likely find this process much easier if you have a skilled legal professional on your side.
An attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice cases can give you the guidance, insight, and advocacy that you need to aggressively protect your interests and your future. With that in mind, if you’re thinking about taking legal action, then now may be the time for you to reach out to a legal team that has a track record of successfully handling cases like yours.