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The 4 Factors of Causation in a Medical Malpractice Claim

October 10, 2023Other Personal Injuries

When we trust medical professionals with our health, we expect safe, competent care. Unfortunately, sometimes medical interventions lead to unexpected harm—and in many cases, this harm is caused by a doctor’s negligence. If you suffer an illness, injury, or complications due to medical malpractice, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible physician.

In a medical malpractice claim, proving causation is vital, as it establishes the direct link between a doctor’s negligence and the harm inflicted upon a patient. To establish causation, you will need to gather enough evidence to prove four important factors

#1: The Doctor Owed You a Duty of Care

The foundation of any medical malpractice lawsuit rests on the principle that a medical professional has an obligation to uphold the medical standard of care. This duty requires doctors to provide care in a way that adheres to the accepted standards of the medical community. Every medical professional, based on their training and skill level, is required to uphold these standards.

However, a doctor only owes you a duty to uphold medical standards if he or she treats you in a professional, formal capacity. Your medical records can help prove that the doctor-patient relationship exists and establish this factor.

#2: The Doctor Breached the Standard of Care

Once the duty of care is established, you will next need to demonstrate that the medical professional in question failed to uphold these standards. This breach could manifest in various ways, from incorrect diagnosis to inappropriate treatment. It’s not enough to show a mistake occurred; you must prove that the doctor’s actions deviated from what a competent, similarly trained professional would do under the same circumstances.

For example, if a cardiologist fails to order necessary tests for a patient showing clear symptoms of heart issues, and instead diagnoses them with a minor ailment, this could be seen as a breach of the standard of care. Another doctor with similar training and experience would likely have taken the symptoms more seriously and ordered the appropriate tests.

#3: The Doctor’s Breach of Duty Caused the Harm

Next, you will need to link the doctor’s breach of duty directly to your injury, illness, or medical complications. In other words, the negligence exhibited by the medical professional must be the cause of the patient’s harm. Establishing the causal link is one of the more difficult components of a medical malpractice lawsuit, but an attorney can provide valuable assistance.

Your personal injury attorney in Augusta can connect you with expert witnesses, such as other medical professionals, who can shed light on the doctor’s actions. Your lawyer can also leverage medical records, witness testimony, and other documents to bridge the gap between the doctor’s negligence and the resulting harm.

#4: You Sustained Damages Due to the Doctor’s Negligence

Finally, you must prove that you incurred damages due to the doctor’s negligent actions. These damages may include tangible, economic losses, such as additional medical bills, disability accommodations, or lost wages. Furthermore, you can claim compensation for intangible aspects such as chronic pain, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life.

Contact a Georgia Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Proving a medical malpractice lawsuit can be a challenging process. In these situations, don’t navigate the legal process alone—trust a Augusta medical malpractice lawyer to represent your case and fight for your right to justice. After addressing your health concerns, schedule a legal consultation to plan your next steps.