The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
The Simmons court eloquently stated its rationale behind its holding: Under the facts of this case, we declined to establish a more lenient standard of causation. To do so, would be contrary to sound logic, legal precedent and public policy. It would unwisely encourage costly and unreasonable over-testing and over-treatment for defensive purposes. Physicians would find it necessary to place the requirements of the legal system before the need and the finances of the patient. In addition, the physicians’ increased exposure to liability would adversely impact already high medical malpractice premiums, resulting in an upward spiral of consumer costs. The uncertainty fostered by such a ruling would undoubtedly open the proverbial flood gates of our overburdened judicial system. Id. at 705-706.
Likewise, in Jennings v. Palomar (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 1108, the Court held that proof that a negligent act was a substantial factor in causing the injury to plaintiff did not relieve plaintiff from the burden of proving defendant’s negligence was the cause-in-fact of plaintiff’s injury. Therefore, although Plaintiff need not eliminate any possibility that Defendants’ conduct was not a cause of Plaintiff’s injury, she must introduce evidence from which reasonable people may conclude that it is more probable than not that the her alleged injury of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome was caused by the Defendants.
In this matter, the Plaintiff alleges that a three hour delay between the removal of her cast and the placement of a splint, caused the plaintiff to develop and suffer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Plaintiff alleges that during this period of time, her hand remained unsupported, and to that end, was forced into the flexed position, causing damage and displacement to her fracture, as well as possible nerve damage. As a result, the Plaintiff claims, she now suffers from severe pain related to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. However, Defendant’s experts will testify that Complex Regional Pain Syndrome has multiple causes. Therefore, the jury should be instructed that Plaintiff must prove within a reasonable medical probability based upon competent expert testimony that her alleged injury was cause by he actions of Defendants, specifically. (See Part 5 of 6.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.