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Malpractice claims and the challenge of proving causation

Iowa residents are probably aware that filing a medical malpractice claim is not easy. There are requirements to be met, and there is almost always strong opposition from the other side. Before a case even gets to that stage, plaintiffs may find trouble proving causation.

A valid malpractice claim must establish two things to begin with: that the doctor neglected the standard of care and that the injury resulted from this negligence. The second part is the challenge because an injury can often result from factors outside of a doctor’s control.

Those who undergo surgery know that they may develop complications afterwards. They are warned about this, so patients cannot attribute these complications to negligence without clear evidence. To take a second example, patients who develop mobility issues after an orthopedic injury cannot blame the doctor unless he or she clearly failed to do what can be reasonably expected, such as aligning the bone or recommending surgery in serious cases.

Where misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis leads to a worse prognosis and a decline in the effectiveness of treatment, then patients might have a strong case. However, in cases involving cancer, with its high mortality rate and its need for extensive treatment, the matter is more complicated.

It may be a good idea for victims to see an attorney who works in medical malpractice law. Whether there is proof of a surgical, medication or diagnostic error, the attorney may hire investigators to link the error to the injuries. A successful claim might cover things like medical expenses both past and future, lost wages, future lost income, a diminished capacity to earn a living, and pain and suffering. If the other side is open to negotiating a settlement, the attorney may assist.

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