Establishing a Duty of Care in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Connecticut residents who have suffered injury, loss or damage caused by the negligent actions of a physician or other medical professional may in many cases want to seek civil remedies by initiating a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order for this litigation to be successful, the plaintiff must establish that the medical professional owed a duty of care and failed to meet it.

Proving that a duty of care existed is a matter of demonstrating that the medical professional treated the plaintiff. This is because all doctors, nurses and therapists owe a duty of care to their patients. Medical records or health insurance statements will generally be sufficient to prove that the defendant was treating the person bringing the medical malpractice lawsuit, but the testimony of witnesses such as medical office staff may also be used for this purpose.

Proving that this duty of care was not met is often more of a challenge for plaintiffs who are making a medical malpractice claim as it involves establishing what would be considered an appropriate degree of care. The law often resolves difficult questions by establishing what is reasonable, and this is done in a medical malpractice claim by looking at what other doctors in the same field could reasonably be expected to know or do in a similar situation.

This is why the testimony of other medical experts is important in a medical malpractice case. Other physicians can establish the parameters of generally accepted medical practice and also provide analysis of the actions of the defendant. However, this can sometimes be a challenge for attorneys as doctors may be reluctant top pass judgement on the actions of their colleagues. One way that an attorney for a plaintiff could overcome this obstacle is by calling upon independent medical experts who could be less concerned about damaging the reputation of a peer.