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How do you prove causation in a medical malpractice case?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

In New Jersey, medical malpractice is negligence that fell below acceptable standards of care and resulted in injury, an illness or worsening of an illness. Failure to diagnose is one possible way that medical malpractice can occur. Other examples are wrong drug prescriptions, misdiagnosis and inadequate patient monitoring.

Expert testimony

New Jersey could dismiss a case if there is no expert testimony because it requires a medical professional to accurately define the standard of care and if a healthcare provider breached that standard of care. A jury doesn’t have the level of expertise to assess this issue on their own.

“But for” test

New Jersey uses the “but for” test to help determine if the defendant is responsible for your injuries. Essentially, this logic test asks if your injury would have happened if the plaintiff’s action didn’t: “But for failing to diagnose, the patient would not have had a kidney failure.” This is an example of putting an action and injury through the but for test.

Substantial factor test

Because multiple factors could contribute to a plaintiff’s injury, New Jersey also uses the substantial factor test. If you have a pre-existing condition, then you may have to prove to a reasonable degree of medical probability that your doctor’s negligence increased your risk of injury.

Discovery rule

Some injuries from medical malpractice don’t cause noticeable symptoms until years after the event. The statute of limitations in these cases goes based on when a person should have reasonably known. They must also reasonably know that the injury, illness or symptoms are a possibility because of their doctor’s medical negligence. You should stay aware of your health and keep a medical journal to help catch problems early on.

In order to prove causation in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you need testimony from relevant healthcare professionals. They must explain what the reasonable standard of care is in your situation and how your healthcare provider broke it.