Within a medical malpractice case’s two stages, gathering evidence falls on the plaintiff and the attorney taking on the case. Information from records to statements attempt to prove that negligence resulted in a harmful, life-changing medical error.
Nevertheless, gathering evidence alone during the discovery phase will not lean the verdict in the plaintiff’s favor. Instead, as the plaintiff and attorney go through this step, all need to consider how medical professionals ignored the basic standard of care.
A plaintiff filing a medical malpractice lawsuit likely encounters several challenges throughout the way. If you or a family member is filing such a lawsuit, consider the following points:
1. All Sources
Although helpful to a certain degree, a patient’s medical records frequently aren’t the be-all-end-all of a medical malpractice case, and in nearly all instances, further information soon becomes required.
The lawyer assisting the medical malpractice case may request deposition testimony from the doctor, nurse, or other medical professionals involved in the procedure; various medical documents; and interrogatories, which are sent from the plaintiff to the defendant to gather information.
A plaintiff and representing attorney may come across medical records that may have not been updated, contain inaccurate information, or have been falsified. Federal and state laws require medical facilities to maintain on file complete and accurate records for each patient, including full medical history, prescribed medications, and treatments.
It’s considered malpractice for a hospital, doctor’s practice, or similar facility to have inaccurate or falsified patient records that resulted in mistreating or negligent treatment of a patient.
Patients and their attorneys have the right to obtain copies of medical records, but if the listed information has inaccuracies, either false or outdated information, evidence must further be gathered to show that changes were made. The lawyer, in this case, may request previously-created documents or written opinions from medical records experts.
Deposition testimonies may assist in filling in gaps from incomplete records, or providing more detailed explanations.
3. Don’t Discount Medical Journals
Establishing a standard of care regarding medical procedures and practices proves to be another challenge of medical malpractice lawsuits. In certain cases, attorneys extensively research medical journals or articles to define a standard of care and use this as evidence. Articles may provide insight into how a condition should be treated, which may contrast with medical records and statements from professionals regarding how care was administered for this particular patient.