Many Washington residents visit a healthcare professional at least once per year, and some perhaps more often. We are fortunate in America to have readily available healthcare to address minor conditions all the way to the most serious of illnesses and injuries. Unfortunately, the reality is that mistakes occur in the healthcare field quite often. Those who believe they are going to their doctor or hospital and will receive the best of care are oftentimes sorely disappointed, as medical malpractice events can injure patients, make them ill or leave them in some other kind of worsened condition after the medical treatment.
When a medical malpractice claim is pursued, the victims – known as the “plaintiffs” in the case – must prove a number of factors. First it must be established that there was a “duty” owed in the case which, in medical malpractice cases, means a doctor-patient relationship. If a healthcare professional rendered aid or performed treatment on a patient, this element of a medical malpractice case is usually sufficiently established.
Next, the victim must show that the “duty” was “breached.” In a medical malpractice case, this means that the healthcare professional did not adhere to a certain standard of care. Establishing the appropriate standard of care that is applicable in any given case is usually where medical malpractice cases get difficult and expensive. Many doctors won’t testify against others, even in the case of serious errors. The next part of the case is to prove that the “breach” of the “duty” that was owed was the actual cause of the illness, injury or worsened condition in question.
If all of these elements are established, the victim must prove damages. The victim must be able to show that the alleged negligent or reckless conduct that is the heart of the medical malpractice claim led to some discernable damages to the victim.