Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Michigan
The majority of negligence cases, especially those rooted in the healthcare field, are handled by lawyers specializing in the legal intricacies of medical malpractice. If you were injured during medical treatment, a Michigan medical malpractice attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Your attorney must prove duty of care, breach, causation, and concrete damages resulting from your injuries to build a solid case resulting in financial compensation. Independent healthcare professionals and other expert witnesses can give testimony in court to help determine if the standard of care was withheld during your treatment, or during the treatment of a family member.
As with all negligence and wrongful death cases, there are four determinants that must be met before a medical malpractice claim can be filed:
1. Duty of care
Duty of care is the legal obligation to secure and promote the health of another person. Lawyers must prove the defendant, in most cases a healthcare provider, owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (patient) before presenting a case to the state.
Legal teams must prove a medical caregiver breached that duty, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Michigan law requires plaintiffs and their attorneys to prove the defendant was responsible for their patient’s injuries or premature death due to their professional negligence or harmful actions.
Defining damages that can be monetized, such as lost wages or pain and suffering caused by injuries is another essential step in preparing a strong case.
The intricacies of Tort law (applicable when legal liability is created following an injury) dictates different factors that must be considered when attempting to prove causation:
Actual cause (cause in fact) – the action or omission that caused harm or injury. In other words, the plaintiff must describe and prove why the medical care they received was inadequate or harmful.
Courts will use the ‘but for’ test to determine the actual cause of your injury. They may also apply the ‘substantial factor’ test to determine if the action or omission materially contributed to the injury. Once an action was deemed the actual cause, it must also be proven to be the proximate cause.
Proximate cause (legal cause) – relates to the foreseeability of your injuries.
The proximate cause principle states that the harm or injuries caused by a certain action must have been foreseeable, otherwise the defendant cannot be held accountable. In other words, your caregiver must have been able to anticipate damages caused by their negligence.
However, medical issues and resulting injuries are complex and at times, even unexpected. Thin Skull or Eggshell Skull victims suffer from more serious complications that vary from the norm.
Although injuries such as fractures resulting from osteoporosis may not have been foreseeable based on other patient data, these cases still have a legal foundation. Tort Law states that defendants who inflicted negligent harm must take the injured party as they find them. This means medical professionals cannot argue that the average patient would have endured less suffering, even if the damages experienced were not foreseeable.
Medical malpractice cases are particularly challenging when it comes to proving causation on a balance of probabilities if there is more than one possible explanation for the harm. For example, going blind after cataract surgery may have been caused by the surgery, or it may have happened anyway over time.
Your legal team must characterize the defendant, or the healthcare professional, as the culpable party. If you were, to any extent, responsible for your injuries, Michigan state law requires the court to determine the degree of your contribution. Failing to disclose allergies to certain medications or topical lotions prior to your medical care, for example, could impact your final settlement amount.
An experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers at our law firm can help you determine causation, argue it in court, fight for justice, and recover the settlement you deserve.
Causation in Michigan Court Cases
Proving causation is a tricky process – but it isn’t impossible. The personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C will request all the relevant documents from the medical professionals, hospitals, and manufacturers that could be tied to your case.
By combing through medical, hiring, and maintenance records, our team will extract every piece of proof to support your case. We will collect verbal depositions from you, family members, friends, and your medical care team to uncover the depth of your injuries. Finally, we will hire medical experts and contact other witnesses to provide supporting testimony during your case.
If you are located in Michigan and find yourself within the statute of limitations for medical negligence cases (two years from the negligent act or within six months of when you discovered or should have discovered the existence of your claim), take action now.
Schedule your free, non-binding case evaluation with Eileen Kroll, a registered nurse, and personal injury trial attorney at our law firm by calling (866) 868-3779. Our law office operates on a contingency basis and does not charge a fee until recovery has been made.