For a court to find someone guilty of medical malpractice in Idaho, the person suing must convince a judge or jury that four facts are valid by offering a preponderance of the evidence. This is a different level of proof than is required in criminal cases. In medical malpractice cases, the judge or jury must only become convinced that it is very likely to have happened.
Doctor-patient relationship exists
The person bringing the medical malpractice lawsuit must prove that the doctor had a duty to act. In other words, the doctor was seeing the patient or the nurse was giving bedside care when something went wrong.
Care was substandard
The doctor must have failed to provide a level of care expected by others in the medical profession with the same level of care and experience. Usually, this involves calling medical experts to give their opinion.
Proof the patient was harmed
Medical malpractice does not exist if no one is harmed. This can be the most challenging part to prove because many medical procedures carry inherent risks. The person bringing the lawsuit must prove that the provider caused the harm they suffered and not a possible outcome of a procedure.
The person bringing the lawsuit must have losses that can be quantified. This often involves proving loss of income because of medical malpractice, but it can also be increased medical costs. Furthermore, a patient may get money for emotional damages caused by the provider’s actions.
Medical malpractice requires a judge or jury to believe that a medical provider caused a person harm through their actions or inaction, but proving that can be very difficult.