December 22, 2022

How To Prove Medical Negligence?

The medical negligence claim process is fairly straightforward on paper but with the complicated nature of certain clinical negligence cases, it is important that a claimant has a good idea about how to prove medical negligence.

It is highly crucial that duty of care is first established in a medical negligence claim. Medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients and so are legally bound to provide the right standard of care when treating them. When a doctor fails to provide reasonable care as would be expected from any medical professional in that same field resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering for the patient, claims for medical negligence can be made.

How Hard Is It To Prove Medical Negligence?

For you to prove that medical negligence occurred, three elements must be evidenced. They are;

  • Establishing that there was a patient/doctor relationship and that the doctor had a duty of care towards you as a patient
  • The doctor breached that duty of care (liability)
  • The breach of duty of care caused harm to you as a patient (causation)

From the above, we see there are two key elements, liability and causation which must be established for a medical negligence claim to be successful.

Liability establishes that the doctor had a duty of care towards you but breached or failed in that duty. Causation legal definition on the other hand establishes that the injury, harm, trauma or complication you suffered was down to the negligence of your healthcare provider.

You can only successfully prove a case of medical negligence if you are able to show liability and causation. If you show that the doctor had a duty of care towards you but failed in that duty, but you are not able to show how his negligence caused you injury, your claim will not be successful.

Burden Of Proof In Negligence

The burden of proof in medical negligence, also referred to as the “balance of probability”, aims to show that it is the action or inaction of the doctor that caused you harm. This means that you have to prove that it is more likely than not that the actions or inactions of your healthcare provider was a failure in their duty of care and that it is also more likely than not that this deviation from duty of care caused you harm.

Two tests are therefore very vital in providing NHS negligence cases;

These are;

  • The ‘But For’ Test
  • The ‘Material Contribution’ Test

The ‘But For’ Test

This test helps to prove causation. The question we seek to answer here is, “but for the doctor’s negligence, would the injury to the patient have occurred?”

This means that you have to show that if not for the poor care you received, the injury or harm would not have occurred. Again, if it is shown that the injury or complication would have occurred even if there was no case of medical negligence, the claim will be unsuccessful.

Medical negligence claims are only successful when it is proven that the injury wouldn’t have happened if the medical practitioner hadn’t been negligent.

The ‘Material Contribution’ Test

This test is usually employed in complex cases where there may be more than a couple of factors responsible for the injury.

The material contribution test tries to find out if the alleged negligence from the medical professional contributed to the injury suffered and if it surely did contribute to the injury, then it has to be established if the contribution was significant (in other words material).

Your claim may not be successful if the contribution was immaterial.

Important Documents For Proving Your Claim;

Your Medical Records: Your medical records show what medical issue you were diagnosed with and what type of treatment you received including other vital information as regards your state of health. This record can help prove you prove causation if anything goes wrong.

Doctor’s Records: If the injury you sustained needed follow up care, records kept by your doctor will be very relevant to show how you have progressed over a period of time. The quality of care you receive in this period can be looked at if you sustain some form of complication or unnecessary suffering.

A Medical Assessment: This is also very vital towards a successful claim. We will most likely require that another medical expert examines you and gives a report of your health condition and if there was any form of negligent treatment which may have caused you harm.

You may also need documents such as:

  • A report from a family member or close friend who knows all about the situation
  • Pictures or images where necessary
  • Proof of how much you have lost financially as a result of the injury including out of pocket expenses as well as future estimated losses.

Should you need professional medical negligence advice for your NHS claim, our NHS negligence claims solicitors are experts with a wealth of experience having secured deserving medical compensation for clients over the years.

Reach out to us today without delay to discuss your claims and if we are convinced that you do have a claim, we will take up your claim on a no win no fee basis where you do not have to worry about legal fees and even if the claim was not successful, you will not owe anyone a penny.

Our helplines are displayed on the page. We look forward to hearing from you.

No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitors

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