A medical malpractice lawsuit is a complicated undertaking in New York and is one of the most frequently litigated areas of law. To succeed in a medical malpractice claim, you need to prove that the negligence or misconduct of your healthcare provider caused your injury or illness.
This means establishing a causal link between the act or omission and the injury, which must be done with clear evidence and expert medical testimony.
What is causation?
Causation is the legal term for establishing that someone’s negligence caused an injury. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, causation must be proved to recover damages.
There are two types of causation: “cause-in-fact” and “proximate cause.” Cause-in-fact is a factual determination of whether the defendant’s negligence was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Establishing proximate cause means that it must be shown that the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injury.
In most cases, cause-in-fact and proximate cause must be proved to establish liability. For example, suppose a doctor prescribes a medication that causes an allergic reaction. In that case, the doctor may be liable if it can be shown that they should have known about the patient’s allergy and prescribed a different medication.
How to prove causation in a medical malpractice lawsuit
To prove actual causation, plaintiffs will need to provide evidence showing what happened leading up to their injury. This can include:
- medical records
- eyewitness testimony
- expert testimony
To prove proximate causation, plaintiffs must show that the defendant knew or should have known that their actions could harm the plaintiff and that the plaintiff’s injuries were a foreseeable consequence.
Causation is a key factor
Without a clear connection between the defendant’s actions and the plaintiff’s harm, it will be difficult for plaintiffs to prove their case in court. Therefore, if you or someone you know has an injury due to another person’s negligence or recklessness, make sure you understand the importance of causation and how it can affect your lawsuit.