There is a common misconception that patients sue doctors and hospitals simply because they have a bad medical outcome. This is not the case. A patient can suffer a negative medical outcome (including death) in spite of great medical care. As such, it should be noted that there is a difference between a negative outcome due to circumstance and a negative outcome caused by medical malpractice.

Most medical malpractice lawsuits involve allegations of hospital or physician negligence. This is to say that that the doctor or health care facility did not meet an accepted standard of care. Today, we’ll discuss what is typically needed to prove a negligence claim.

The first pieces of evidence are fairly easy to establish in most cases. You must prove that you have been injured, and you must prove that the defendants (the hospital or physician) owed you a duty to provide healthcare. This is usually evident within the doctor-patient relationship.

Now the “standard of care” principle comes into play. To prove negligence, you have to establish what the proper standard of care would have been for your particular diagnosis, and then you must prove your injuries were caused by the defendant’s deviation from that standard of care.

In order to establish the standard of care, you may need testimony from an independent medical professional working in or qualified to work in the same practice area as your physician. He or she will need to provide insight into the generally accepted standard of care and to prove that your physician failed to meet that standard.

Medical negligence claims are typically difficult to prove. For this and other reasons, you should seek the help of an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice cases.