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Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Causation is one of the essential requirements in proving a case of negligence in a Cape Cod personal injury lawsuit. Without the element of causation, a defendant’s breach of a duty of care toward the plaintiff will not result in a finding of liability, even if the plaintiff can prove substantial damages.

It works like this: the plaintiff must be able to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, not only that he or she was owed a duty of care, that this duty was breached, and that he or she suffered harm but also that his or her damages were caused by the defendant’s actions or in actions. However, “cause” or “causation” is a term of art in the world of negligence law. Something can be the actual cause of harm without necessarily being the legal cause of such damages.

Public policy factors into the development of this area of the law. Would it be wise to hold a defendant liable for a “freak accident,” even if, technically, his or her breach of duty resulted in damages to the plaintiff? Probably not. Somewhere between such occurrences and conduct that is so likely to result in harm as to be considered intentional – and possibly subject to punitive damages – lies the type of conduct that the principles of negligence are designed to govern.

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In a Cape Cod medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving not only that the defendant healthcare professional breached the standard of care that applied to the situation at hand but also that this breach of care was the proximate cause of the damages about which the plaintiff complains. Sometimes, damages are readily apparent, and the real fight is about whether there was negligent care. However, this is not always so.

Sometimes, a mistake was obviously made, but the doctor insists that his or her error did not harm the patient in any meaningful way. This argument is especially prevalent in cases involving a missed diagnosis.

In such cases, the plaintiff believes that, had a proper diagnosis been made in a timely fashion, he or she would have had more treatment options and/or a better outcome of the illness that the doctor somehow missed. In turn, the physician is likely to claim that the illness – and the ultimate result thereof – was bound to happen anyway, such that his or her mistake should not result in monetary compensation to the patient or his or her family.

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Doctors and nurses make mistakes. Sometimes, these errors in judgment cause serious harm to patients. When this happens, the injured individual has a right to seek fair compensation through a Cape Cod medical malpractice claim.

However, it is important to note that medical malpractice cases can be difficult to pursue. The insurance companies that represent healthcare facilities and medical professionals have plenty of financial resources to fight a finding of liability, if possible.

It is important to consult a knowledgeable malpractice attorney if you believe that you have a medical negligence claim. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can help you review your medical records, consult an appropriate expert witness to render an opinion regarding whether an act of malpractice occurred, and, if the case proceeds to trial, explain the complex medical issues to the jury in a way that they can understand.

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The plaintiff in a Cape Cod medical malpractice case not only bears the burden of proof at trial, but he or she also has several obligations in the pre-litigation phase of the case. Generally, the first step is a careful review of the injured or deceased person’s medical records by an expert in the field of medicine at issue.

However, the inquiry does not end there. The expert must be prepared to give a formal opinion as to any deviations of care on the part of the patient’s treating physicians and how those deviations affected the patient. Ultimately, the expert may be called upon to defend those opinions in a court of law.

Because medical malpractice cases have several special requirements, it is important that the plaintiff be represented by experienced, highly qualified legal counsel. It is a given that the doctor, nurse, or hospital will have a team of legal professionals on his or her side of the case, and the plaintiff’s attorney must be prepared to wage a vigorous fight at trial, if necessary.

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There are many steps that must be completed in order to recover fair monetary compensation for injuries or wrongful death at the hands of a health care professional in Massachusetts. One of the first hurdles that must be crossed is making it past the decision of the medical malpractice tribunal that reviews such cases as part of the legal process.

In order for a Cape Cod medical malpractice case to proceed past the tribunal and onward toward trial, there must be enough evidence of negligence by the defendants for the tribunal to find that there is a legitimate question of liability. Not every case “makes the cut,” so to speak. Sometimes, even though the patient was hurt or may even have died, there just isn’t enough evidence of wrongdoing by the doctor or other medical professional for the case to make it past the tribunal.

Of course, opinions can vary as to whether the threshold has been met. Sometimes, a plaintiff appeals a decision that would have terminated his or her case and finds legal recourse in the appellate process.

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In a typical Cape Cod personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks to recover monetary compensation for damages by asserting a claim of negligence. There are four basic elements to the tort of negligence (duty, breach of duty, damages, and proximate causation).

The plaintiff has the duty to prove each element by a preponderance of the evidence. This requires him or her to convince the jury that the evidence weighs more in his or her favor than in the opponent’s (visualize a tipping of the scales of justice, if you will).

There are other possible remedies that can arise from an alleged act of negligence, including what was described by an appellate court as “a seldom used equitable remedy” in a case filed by a nursing home resident in 2018. The appellate court has now weighed in on the dismissal of the woman’s “complaint for discovery.”

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When a patient is dissatisfied with treatment received from a doctor, hospital, or other medical provider, he or she may have a claim for medical malpractice. An experienced Cape Cod medical malpractice attorney can explain the process of asserting such a claim.

In some instances, there may be the possibility of some other type of legal course, as well. However, such situations are the exception rather the rule.

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff. In order to prevail on a claim for malpractice against an allegedly negligent health care provider, the plaintiff must be able to present proof that the defendant breached the applicable standard of care and that this was the proximate cause of the damages for which the plaintiff seeks monetary compensation.

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In order for a Cape Cod medical malpractice case to be filed in a particular court, there must be subject matter jurisdiction. Most such cases are filed in state court, but sometimes there may be jurisdiction in federal court.

One such situation arises when the person who injured the plaintiff was an employee of the federal government. Generally speaking, the government is immune from lawsuits, but there are special exceptions in these types of cases.

Of course, the government has teams of attorneys whose job is to make sure that only qualifying cases are allowed to proceed. Just like other defendants, the government has a right to defend itself in court, even at the pre-trial stage with regard to jurisdictional issues.

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Being the victim of professional malpractice can be doubly difficult. First, there is the harm caused by a negligent Cape Cod doctor, nurse, or other provider. This alone can be substantial, expensive to rectify (if this is even possible), and life-altering.

Then, there is the emotional difficulty of accepting that someone you trusted to help you was actually the person or entity that caused the harm. The idea of confronting a careless medical professional in a court of law can be daunting, and, truth told, can even dissuade some would-be litigants from seeking compensation for what has happened to them.

However, this only serves to give the negligent provider a “free pass” to continue such conduct in the future, possibly leading to additional patient harm or even death. If you find yourself as the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to consult a Cape Cod medical malpractice attorney who can explain your legal rights, the process of filing a claim, and the procedure necessary in order to seek fair compensation for your injuries.

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Cape Cod medical malpractice cases have some special requirements that other types of negligence cases do not. One of these is the filing of an offer of proof that is presented to a three-person tribunal that will determine whether the plaintiff has enough evidence to raise a legitimate question as to the defendant(s)’ liability for harm caused by medical negligence.

If the tribunal answers the question in the affirmative, the case proceeds to the next phase of litigation in the same manner that a non-medical tort case would. If the tribunal does not find that the plaintiff has presented substantial evidence of liability, however, the case is not necessarily over.

At that point, the plaintiff has the option of posting a bond to cover certain defense costs if he or she does not prevail in the litigation. The court has some flexibility as to the amount of the bond, and the parties may argue that it be adjusted upward or downward from the “usual” amount of $6000.

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