Medicine is a complex field that requires years of study and practice to understand. If a medical procedure or course of treatment goes wrong, most of us in Fayette County could not tell if it was because of an unfortunate but unavoidable mistake or medical malpractice.
Even if you are confident that your doctor’s negligence caused your injury, proving it through direct evidence can be almost impossible. Often, the only person who knows for sure is the doctor or medical facility that committed the malpractice, and they are unlikely to admit it during a high-stakes lawsuit.
An alternative strategy
Fortunately, malpractice victims in Georgia have the right to invoke a legal doctrine called res ipsa loquitur, a Latin phrase that means “the thing speaks for itself.” This doctrine lets a malpractice victim prevail at trial if they can show that their injury would not have happened if not for negligence by their healthcare provider. There are five elements in establishing a res ipsa claim:
- Evidence of the actual cause of the injury cannot be obtained
- The injury is not a type that usually happens without negligence
- The plaintiff did not cause their own injury
- The defendant, their employer or agents, had exclusive control of the instrumentality that caused the injury
- The injury could not have been caused by any other instrumentality
If the plaintiff can show that res ipsa applies, the burden of proof shifts from them to the defendant. The defendant must then prove that they did not commit malpractice.
Don’t try to handle your malpractice case yourself
Dealing with a hospital’s attorneys and insurance company on your own can be extremely challenging, especially as you and your family recover from the effects of medical malpractice. Working with an attorney who understands what it takes to build a malpractice claim that delivers results can save you time and worry.