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Proving Causation in Professional Negligence


doctorsHow Does Causation Apply to Medical Malpractice Cases?

In a medical malpractice case, it is necessary for the plaintiff to prove causation — that is, to demonstrate that a specific action or omission on the part of a medical professional or institution led to the plaintiff’s injury or death. If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured or died due to medical negligence, your attorney must prove that negligence was a substantial cause of the injury.

A doctor, for instance, may have been negligent in his care, but the patient’s injury was due to outside factors such as a previous injury. Conversely, a patient may suffer a serious complication, but that complication cannot be directly attributed to any action on the part of the doctor. Only when both negligence and causation apply is it possible to obtain a successful result in a medical malpractice case. In pursuing damages, a plaintiff must provide expert testimony that the injury or death was indeed the direct result of the negligent act.

Loss of Chance

Ohio is one of several states that have adopted a “loss of chance” doctrine, which applies to medical malpractice cases. In the past, juries would not be permitted to award plaintiffs damages in medical malpractice cases in which the patient had less than a 51 percent chance of recovery before the malpractice took place.

Under the loss of chance doctrine, the jury is instructed to award the plaintiff the total amount of damages multiplied by the percentage loss of chance. For example, if the patient had a 25 percent chance of cure and the doctor’s negligence removed that chance, the plaintiff is entitled to 25 percent of the jury award.

Our attorneys are well-versed in these areas of the law and are prepared to answer questions about your medical malpractice case.

Contact Us

Our attorneys do this work because we care about our clients and a just verdict or settlement will make a positive difference in their lives. Please contact us by filling out our online form, or call (440) 252-4399 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced Cleveland, Ohio, medical malpractice lawyer.

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