Why Is Causation So Hard To Prove In A Medical Malpractice Case?

No one should have to worry about being harmed when they seek medical assistance from a professional. Unfortunately, medical mistakes occur at alarming rates in the United States. If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation for what happened. At The Weitz Firm, LLC, our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys want to discuss one particular element of these cases that can be difficult to prove – causation. In other words, why is it hard to prove that a medical mistake actually caused a patient’s injury?

What Are The Elements Of A Medical Malpractice Case?

In order for a medical malpractice case to be successful, there are four general elements that need to be proven:

  • Duty: That there is an established doctor/patient relationship.
  • Breach: That the medical professional breached the duty of care they owed to their patient.
  • Causation: That the breach of duty actually caused harm to the patient.
  • Damages: That the victim suffered some form of loss.

Some of these may seem straightforward but proving causation is often incredibly difficult. Even in medical malpractice cases where there was an unmistakable mistake made by a healthcare professional, that may not be enough to win a case.

Why Would A Victim Not Automatically Win Their Case If A Mistake Is Proven?

Simply put, medical mistakes happen all the time. However, a mistake does not necessarily mean that a patient was harmed. For example, if a patient goes to the hospital for a chest infection and has detailed scans performed, then the doctor or radiologist will likely notice the infection and prescribe treatment to aid in the patient’s recovery. Suppose the doctor or radiologist does not notice that the patient also has a tumor in their lung, one that should have been seen on the scans. Three years later, the tumor is noticed by another doctor, who also confirms the presence of the tumor on the earlier scans. The tumor is surgically removed and, upon removal, it is discovered that the tumor is benign.

Was Medical Malpractice Committed By The First Doctor And Radiologist For Missing The Tumor?

While it may not be difficult to establish that the original doctor and radiologist should have seen the tumor, it will be hard to prove that this mistake caused harm to the patient because the tumor was benign.

When it comes to the field of medicine, there are often times when a person is injured or becomes ill during their course of treatment even when the medical professional performs within the standard of care appropriate for the situation. Therefore, this can make it difficult to prove with a reasonable degree of certainty that the adverse outcome was “caused” by the medical professional.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional, please seek legal assistance today. At The Weitz Firm, LLC, our skilled and experienced team will thoroughly investigate your case in an effort to secure the following:

  • Compensation for all medical bills related to the mistake
  • Lost income if you are unable to work while recovering
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of personal enjoyment damages

If you need a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 267-587-6240.



    We are highly selective in the cases we undertake to ensure that can give each client his full attention. You can schedule an appointment for a personal injury consultation at our Philadelphia office by calling us, or by filling out our online intake form.