Why Causation is the Most Challenging Element of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you were injured by the actions or inactions of a healthcare provider, you have the right to seek compensation. By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can fight to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions by securing your deserved compensation. However, proving the legal elements of medical malpractice can be complex and challenging, with causation typically being the most difficult to establish.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a medical error or oversight, you need an experienced and dedicated legal team. At Conner, Marr, & Pinski, our Montana medical malpractice attorneys have secured millions on behalf of our clients. We will fight tirelessly to hold the negligent healthcare provider or facility accountable for their wrongdoing and work to secure maximum compensation for your losses. Contact us online today to schedule your FREE consultation.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare provider's negligent actions or inaction causes harm or injury to a patient.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical negligence can take many forms. The following are common examples of medical malpractice that can lead to an injury claim or lawsuit:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
- Failure to recognize or treat symptoms
- Unnecessary surgery
- Surgical errors
- Wrong-site surgery
- Failure to prevent or treat infection
- Medication errors
- Inadequate patient monitoring
- Disregarding patient history
- Failure to order proper testing
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
To bring a successful medical malpractice claim, you and your Montana medical malpractice attorney will need to prove each of the following elements. These four elements are commonly referred to as the “4 Ds of medical malpractice.”
Duty of Care - Your attorney will need to begin by establishing a duty of care. He or she must show the healthcare professional or facility had a duty to adequately care for you by proving there was a professional relationship between you and the provider. The relationship must have been ongoing and active at the time of the alleged wrongdoing.
Deviation of Duty - Often referred to as “breach of duty,” will also need to be proven. In other words, your lawyer will need to show that the healthcare provider failed to provide adequate care by failing to act in a manner in which the average provider or facility would have, given similar circumstances.
Direct Cause - Next, your attorney must show a direct connection between the actions or inaction of the healthcare provider and your injuries. For example, if your injuries were caused by your failure to follow aftercare instructions after surgery, the injuries were not caused by the provider but rather by your actions. However, if your doctor failed to close the surgery site properly and you suffered injuries as a result, you can show they directly caused your injuries.
Damages - The fourth and final element you must establish is that you suffered damages as a result of your injuries. In other words, you aren’t entitled to compensation simply because your doctor failed to provide adequate care. You must show you suffered losses as a result of their actions or failure to act.
Why Causation Can Be Hard to Prove
Any of the four elements of medical negligence can be hard to prove. However, the one most challenging to establish is causation. This is because injuries and illnesses can have a number of underlying causes - some of which could be caused by factors other than medical negligence.
To prove causation, your attorney has to pass the “but for” test. This means that he or she will have to make a solid case that your injury or illness would not have occurred if not “but for” the healthcare provider’s recklessness.
Proving their actions or inaction increased the risk of illness or injury is insufficient. You must show they solely and directly caused your illness or injury.
Montana’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
In Montana, you have two years from the date of your injury or illness or two years from the time you discovered your injury or illness. Because these cases can be complicated, it is especially important to act promptly and consult with an attorney right away.
Injured by a Healthcare Provider? We Can Help.
Proving malpractice can be challenging, often requiring extensive investigation and preparation.
So if you or someone you love suffered injuries due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you need a lawyer with vast experience in handling these complicated cases.
At Conner, Marr, & Pinski, we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively handle your case. We thoroughly research the circumstances surrounding your injury and work with medical experts to effectively prove medical negligence. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case. Get started today by contacting us online.