Can I sue my doctor for nerve damage she caused?


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Question:

Can I sue my doctor for nerve damage she caused?

Answer:

Being able to sue your doctor is one thing; what matters is whether or not such a lawsuit will end up being successful.  

First, we would obviously need to know more about how your nerve damage came about. If it was a result of a surgical procedure, remember that no surgery comes without risks, and there is never a guarantee that you’ll end up with a favorable result. These risks are communicated to the patient as part of the doctor’s duty to obtain informed consent before beginning any course of surgical treatment.  

Another way of putting this is, just because something went wrong and you ended up with nerve damage (temporary or permanent), that doesn’t mean your doctor committed medical negligence.

In any medical malpractice lawsuit, the keys are:

1) establishing the appropriate medical standard of care under the circumstances of your medical treatment -- what would a similarly skilled and competent doctor have done (or not done) during the course of your medical care

2) proving exactly how the care your doctor provided fell short of that standard, and

3) showing that your doctor’s provision of sub-standard care caused you some kind of measureable harm -- by making additional medical care necessary, prolonging your recovery, causing you to miss work, and so on.

Obviously, you can’t prove these things alone, and neither can your attorney (usually). That’s why most medical malpractice cases hinge on the hiring and testimony of the right expert medical witness.  In fact, many states require the participation of an expert in medical malpractice cases unless fault is obvious.

by: , J.D.

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