Proving medical malpractice liability in Alaska

All people make mistakes at one time or another. Some mistakes are harmless, while others can be quite costly. In the field of medicine, a health care professional’s mistake can mean the difference between life and death. Doctors, nurses and even hospital administrators are expected to maintain a very high level of skill and follow the normal standards of care that are required by such professionals. If an individual comes to realize that the standard of care has not been met, he or she should be aware that there may be legal options available to them, such as filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice.

What must be proven?

Under Alaska law, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff, who is the injured individual, to demonstrate that the health care professional acted negligently or with willful misconduct. Specifically, the following must be shown:

•That there was a certain level of skill or knowledge that the health care provider was expected to possess, as well as a degree of care that was normally used under the circumstances at the time of the act complained of;

•That the health care professional either did not have the required skill level or knowledge, or that he or she either deviated from or failed to use the expected level of care, and;

•That there was a causal connection between the professional’s lack of knowledge/skill or failure to use the generally accepted level of care and the injuries suffered.

In medical malpractice claims, there is no presumption of negligence against the doctor or entity, so an injured person will need to go to great lengths to prove his or her claim.

The difficulty of proving malpractice

Demonstrating a health care professional’s misconduct can be a very hard task. Experts will need to be used in order to show that the professional being charged acted irresponsibly. Additionally, the medical reports that are pertinent to the case may not fully present the facts of what really happened when the negligence took place.

If patients believe that they or a loved one have experienced some form of medical negligence, it is important that they be aware of their potential remedies. Regardless of whether it was a botched surgery or a medication that was prescribed incorrectly, there are actio ns that can be taken to ensure that such errors don’t go unnoticed. Those who have been harmed by a health care professional may want to seek legal assistance because, as noted above, proving malpractice will not be easy to do. A legal professional who has familiarity with these types of cases will be able to inform injured individuals of their options and appropriate remedies.

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