Our readers in Illinois have probably heard before how difficult it can be to prove a medical malpractice case in court. This isn’t overexaggerated. These cases almost always involve complex facts and medical information, which can be difficult for even the most trained healthcare professional to understand and communicate to the court and jury. Illinois residents who may be thinking about pursuing a medical malpractice claim need to know what they need to prove in a such a case to be successful.
The vast majority of medical malpractice cases are based on a claim of “negligence.” This doesn’t mean that there was purposeful, reckless conduct, but rather that the healthcare professional at fault in the case was mistaken or “accidentally” committed some type of wrong that caused an injury or a worsened health condition for the medical patient.
In a negligence claim, a plaintiff will need to prove that a “duty” existed between the healthcare professional and the patient. This can be one of the easiest parts of a medical malpractice claim because it usually doesn’t take much to establish a “doctor-patient” relationship between a patient and a healthcare professional who rendered medical treatment.
Next, the patient will need to show the “standard of care” that should have applied in the medical treatment at issue. This is the part of the case that can become more complex. There may be differing opinions on the applicable standard of care. But, once that standard of care is established, the patient must then show that the healthcare professional breached his duty to the patient by committing some mistake or oversight, and that the breach resulted in the patient’s injury or worsened health condition.