If you or a family member or friend is thinking of bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maryland or elsewhere, it can be helpful to become familiar with some of the general concepts and principles of this area of the law. At the outset, keep in mind that this is a dynamic and evolving legal subject, and the particular facts of each situation will govern. What is physician negligence under one set of facts may be unimportant trivia in another situation.
Additionally, we learn new medical knowledge daily. That means that the norms of practice are likely to change as new information is learned and utilized clinically. Because medical malpractice is based on the medical provider's services falling below the minimal required standard of care under the circumstances, it's particularly important to keep up with the changing nature of the areas of medicine involved in the case.
Another principle is that medical malpractice is a complicated area of the law. Plaintiff's counsel, for example, must learn the area of medical specialization involved in order to communicate effectively with the jury and the other participants. As in most litigation matters, malpractice cases require extensive research of the facts. The facts must then be evaluated in the perspective of the applicable law.
As discussed in these blog articles previously, the case cannot usually be won without the plaintiff presenting the sworn testimony of an expert medical practitioner. These are often professors of medicine in prestigious medical schools and teaching institutions. Their academic standing frees them to testify truthfully without having to protect the defendant doctor's position.
After the plaintiff proves that there was physician negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of proving causation, which is a key element required in every case. It must be shown that the doctor's carelessness was a substantial factor in causing the patient's injury. In Maryland and elsewhere, it is helpful to understand these principles of physician negligence and medical malpractice so that the patient may be appropriately informed as the case progresses.