We recently described what it takes to prove negligence—the first of the three elements of a medical malpractice case. In this installment, we begin to describe what it takes to prove the second element: causation.
Think of causation as the link between negligence and injury.
Once you prove that your healthcare provider was negligent in caring for you, you then have to prove causation — meaning that the negligence legally caused the harm you suffered.
Let’s say you have a documented allergy to acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and Norco. Let’s say your providers then prescribes you Norco anyway because they overlook your documented allergy history or ignore the allergy warnings in your medical records. And let’s say you then have a severe allergic reaction that shuts down your breathing for some time, causing permanent neurological deficits.
In that case, it’s clear to see that your providers’ negligent act—prescribing you an unsafe medication—caused your injuries.
As we will explain in an upcoming installment, causation can be tricky to analyze and prove. One way to test if you’ll be able to prove causation is to ask: Would my injury have occurred or been as bad had my providers acted properly? Sometimes this is referred to as the “but for” test, meaning that the harm would not have occurred “but for” the negligence.
Defendant hospitals and providers spend a lot of time, money, and energy attacking the element of causation while suggesting alternative causes, finger-pointing at anyone and everyone to avoid their own accountability.
The Bell Law Firm represents clients who have suffered death or catastrophic injury in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases.