What Does Causation Mean in Medical Negligence?

Author:
Jodie Cook
Senior Associate, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Date:
25/06/2020

Causation is a term you may hear during a medical negligence claim, which means there’s a link between substandard medical treatment and a patient’s subsequent health problems.

Our Medical Negligence Lawyers carry out what’s known as a “But For” test - i.e. but for the doctor’s substandard treatment, would the patient have suffered the injuries?

If we believe there’s a connection between your condition and any failings with your medical treatment, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

For a free consultation and legal advice get in touch with our Medical Negligence Lawyers. We may be able to act for you on No Win, No Fee basis - ask us for details.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

How Do We Prove Causation?

The first stage is to show that a treating doctor has breached their duty of care towards the patient. This means that they have acted in a way that no reasonable doctor would have acted. If we can prove that, then we’re halfway there with the claim.

Step two would be to show that this led to a person suffering an injury, a deterioration of an existing injury or failing to recover from their condition.

If the patient has died, then their family may be able to show that the death was caused by a negligent treatment.

Is Proving Causation Difficult?

Sometimes, a patient might already have a pre-existing condition that affects their medical treatment or prospects of recovery.

If that’s the case, a doctor’s wrongdoing wouldn’t necessarily be the cause of any deterioration.

So we need to show what might have happened if the doctor hadn’t breached their duty of care.

If we can’t show that your injuries were the result of a doctor`s negligence, we wouldn’t be able to proceed with the claim.

Even if the doctor admits a breach of duty, they may still argue that even with the best care, the outcome would be the same.

In that case, further investigation would need to be carried out, which would involve reviewing your medical records and instructing appropriate medical experts, who can give opinion on the treatment you received and if it caused avoidable injuries.

How Simpson Millar Can Help You

It’s very important to get in touch with a Medical Negligence Solicitor or Lawyer if you believe something went wrong during your treatment or stay in hospital.

We’re specialists in medical law, so have considerable experience of investigating medical negligence incidents and working with independent experts to help establish causation.

As experts in this area, we also understand the emotional impact that substandard medical care and making a claim can have on a person. It’s stressful, overwhelming and frustrating, so we’ll work hard to make it as easy for you as possible.

We can advise you if we believe you have a good chance of making a successful claim, and provide essential help and support during this difficult time.

Finally, we should stress that there’s a time limit for making a medical negligence claim 3 years from when the negligence occurred, or from the date you become aware of the problem (date of knowledge). So you shouldn’t delay getting specialist legal advice.

For free legal advice call our Medical Negligence Solicitors

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