Establishing Liability and Causation in Medical Negligence Cases

When examining cases of medical malpractice for negligence, it is important to realize that the idea of medical negligence hinges on two things: liability and causation. First of all, the idea of medical malpractice implies problems with actions committed by medical professionals. These actions may be deliberate mistakes, but more often than not are simply actions due to negligence, which must be shown to be “actionable” to have a bearing as medical negligence. For something to be actionable, it must have all the components of a viable cause to action. Per Findlaw, “there must be a duty owed to someone, a breach of that duty, and resulting harm or damage that is proximately caused by that breach”.

How to apply the concept of proximate cause to medical malpractice? The best way is to ask whether, but for, the alleged negligence, the harm or injury would have happened. Competent service providers must meet certain standards in their profession or they open themselves up to malpractice. Liability is established, therefore, when the medical treatment or medical service fell below that of a competent service provider in a medical profession. Causation shows the link between the service provided and the injury suffered. Negligence by the medical professional must have caused damage. One without the other is not sufficient to prove medical negligence.

In clear cases of malpractice, when a medical patient has been injured through improper action or inaction of a medical professional or even of a medical facility, the issue of negligence becomes critically important to establish. Liability and causation are the two key parameters every solicitor will built his case upon. If you, as a patient, are going to experience any care for a long-term condition, make sure to keep good records.

If you know you will be unconscious or rendered mentally impaired through a course of treatment (for example, on a prescription drug), be sure to appoint someone with power of attorney who can keep records for you throughout the course of treatment.