Establishing fault and liability in medical malpractice cases

April 27, 2023 | Crandall & Pera Law
Establishing fault and liability in medical malpractice cases

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be complex and difficult to litigate. In order to prevail in these cases, the plaintiffs must prove that the care they or their loved ones received did not meet generally accepted health care standards. This can become a protracted battle between experts when mistakes are not immediately apparent. If Ohio patients can convince the court that the treatment they received was negligent, they must then prove that they suffered harm as a direct consequence of the mistake.

Proximate cause

Establishing proximate cause in medical malpractice lawsuits can be challenging because the plaintiffs in these cases were often already sick when mistakes were made. Medical malpractice defendants may argue that the plaintiff’s outcome was inevitable and their errors made no real difference, and expert witnesses may voice similar opinions. The juries in medical malpractice lawsuits often award significant damages, so medical malpractice insurance providers tend to mount fierce defenses when these cases go to trial. In some medical malpractice cases, the plaintiffs claim that the defendants acted without their informed consent. This means that they did not give consent to be treated or were denied important information when they gave consent. Information that patients should have before giving consent includes the likely benefits, the possible risks, the side effects and the other medical options available. Most doctors protect themselves against informed consent complaints and litigation by asking their patients to sign consent forms.

Most cases settle

Most medical malpractice cases are resolved before they go to trial, which means matters like proximate cause and informed consent are usually addressed at negotiating tables and not in courtrooms. These issues can determine the outcome of a medical malpractice claim, and they are rarely clear and unambiguous.