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Medical malpractice and standard of care

Dealing with an injury or illness is a difficult time and one that requires most people to trust in the expertise and training of those practicing in the medical field. Health care providers are expected to be knowledgeable in the fields and up to date with the latest recommendations in diagnosing and treating conditions. In most cases, the trust patients put in their medical teams is well placed, but when it is not, the results can be disastrous.

Medical malpractice cases often hinge on whether a health care provider did everything within reasonable expectations to provide the professional standard of care. It is the plaintiff's responsibility to meet the preponderance of evidence requirement set forth under Connecticut law in showing the negligence of the provider. How this is done largely depends on what kind of doctor or other health care professional is involved in the case.

In most cases, expert witnesses are used to show that the professional standard of care was not met. According to Connecticut law, any expert witness in a medical malpractice negligence case must be a "similar health care provider." This means that if the defendant is a specialist or certified by a board, the expert witness must also have the same degree of training and certification. If the health care provider is not certified and is not identified as a specialist, the expert witness must only be licensed by the appropriate Connecticut regulatory agency or that of another state that has similar or more stringent requirements.

Victims wishing to bring medical malpractice suits against negligent health care providers must understand what meeting the burden of the preponderance of evidence means and how expert witnesses are evaluated. An attorney who handles medical malpractice cases can talk with victims about their cases and help them decide on the next steps.

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries, "Medical Malpractice in Connecticut" Jan. 02, 2015

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