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How can you establish your doctor's negligence in court?

Medical patients in Maryland have the right to receive competent medical care from the medical professionals on your case. If you are injured or harmed as a result of negligent health care, you have the right to sue for medical malpractice. As a victim, you and your attorney, if you have one, must prove that the parties you are suing were negligent when administering care and caused you harm as a result.

First, you must establish that the defendants named in your lawsuit owed you a duty. Generally, this element can be proven by proving that a doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the doctor who treated you. You should provide evidence that you chose to receive treatment from this doctor and that you underwent testing and received treatment from the doctor in question. Your medical records will be important to establish the connection between you and your doctor and the duty they owed you.

Next, you must show that the doctor failed to meet the medical standard of care expected for a reasonably prudent physician in a similar situation. If you can prove that a competent physician would not have behaved in the way your physician did in similar circumstances, the physician may have breached the duty owed to you as a patient. Expert testimony from physicians in the same practice area as your physician may be helpful to prove a breach of duty.

Additionally, you must show that you suffered harm as a result of the physician's negligence. Merely establishing that the physician breached their duty to you as a patient is not enough. You must show that their negligent behavior caused you harm or injury, which you would not have otherwise experienced. Again, medical records and expert testimony can be extremely useful to prove causation.

If you can successfully establish all of the above elements, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, both past and future, physical and mental pain, disfigurement, lost wages and other expenses you may have incurred as a result of the negligence.

Source: FindLaw, "Medical Malpractice: Background," accessed on March 26, 2018

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