Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases
Our Attorneys Prove Medical Negligence
Most lay people understand that the burden of proof in criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in the civil actions like medical malpractice cases, it is by a preponderance of the evidence, which simply means more likely than not. At Shapiro Law Group, we strive to prove the case as if it were a criminal claim. We think that telling the jury to follow the more likely than not standard today mandates that we prove our case so strongly that there can be no doubt.
The attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group go to great lengths to procure evidence in medical malpractice cases. This proof exists in many forms, and must demonstrate that a physician harmed the victim through medical negligence. Our lawyers pursue every source of evidence to secure compensation for victims.
If you think that you have a potential case, there is nothing to lose by calling us and everything to gain. The sooner we can begin the evidence gathering process, the stronger your case will be. There is no charge to speak with us, and you only owe us fees if we win or settle your case.
Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases
When our attorneys work on a case, some of the types of evidence they search for include:
- Medical files –Long before formal evidence ever begins, it is the lawyer’s job to obtain all medical records, all diagnostic studies, such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and any laboratory diagnostic testing. Frequently, lawyers must advance thousands of dollars just to make the threshold determination as to whether there is merit to the claim. The cost of procuring medical records has escalated dramatically in recent years. In Florida, the legislature recently justified the charge of $1 per page for cost of duplication. Thus, for the chart of a complicated neo-natal case (newborn child) simply obtaining the hospital chart is likely to cost well in excess of $1,000. After obtaining the records, our law firm must sort and separate them.Electronic record-keeping has made the task of proving medical malpractice nearly impossible. Doctors and nurses do not write anything anymore. There are several computer prompts for each issue, the doctor selects certain choices, the program spits out this predetermined language. This is repeated throughout. It is not uncommon to find no handwritten record, such as nurses’ notes or physician progress notes. Thus, the plaintiff’s lawyer must prove the case based upon circumstantial evidence. This includes the harm itself and how likely it was to happen based on expert testimony.
The one good piece of evidence that comes out of this is that we can order “metadata”, so we can find out: where was the nurse when she inputted data? Was she really by the bed as claimed? What date were they authored, how long was she there, and what was the time of the entry? You may be able to impeach the testimony of a nurse or doctor, especially when they claim they were at bedside.
- Expert testimony – A statement from a medical professional qualified as a medical expert is vital to a claim. In fact, expert testimony is a necessity in most medical malpractice cases. Before we pursue a case, we consult with two independent professionals, explain the case and ask their expert opinion. Unless they both agree that malpractice occurred, we do not pursue the case.
- Patient’s medical journal – We advise every potential client that comes through our door to begin a private journal if they haven’t already done so, detailing everything that happened during the course of the medical stay. Patients do not get to write in their charts. Even though the journal may help a lawyer to prove the claim, frequently the chart will conflict and diametrically oppose what the victim wrote in his or her journal. Sometimes, the journal serves to dispel evidence that might appear to serve the doctor’s defense. Record information such as:
o Who is your doctor? What advice did he or she give you?
o What medicine or treatments did your doctor prescribe?
o What medicine are you taking? How do you feel? You may simply describe any pain you feel – include dates and times whenever possible.
- Insurance and bills – Medical bills, insurance payments and other expense information can make economic damages easy to establish.
Though not necessarily evidence, the defense lawyer may want his or her own choice of doctor to examine your condition. This should not be cause for concern and may even support your claim.
Talk to Our Lawyers About Your Medical Malpractice Case
The Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group have spent much of their legal careers working with victims of medical negligence. Our lawyers believe that causes are more important than cases – we care about the people we represent and want to help them, and we want to create a safer health care industry for everyone.
To speak with our lawyers today, call our office at (800) 258-HELP for free attorney advice about your case.