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 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.)
Expert Review of the Instant Case Establishes that the Conduct of Dr. Lee Did Not Cause Plaintiff’s Alleged Injuries.
In a personal injury action, causation must be proven within a reasonable medical probability based on competent expert testimony. Mere possibility alone is insufficient to establish a prima facie case. Jones v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Company (1985) 163 Cal.App.3d 396, 402 02 (citations omitted); Dumas v. Conney (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1593, 1603. Liability for medical malpractice is predicated upon a proximate causal connection between the negligent conduct and the resulting injury. Budd v. Nixon (1971) 6 Cal.3d 195,200. In Dumas, the court declined to establish a more lenient standard of causation in medical malpractice cases to account for the theory of lost chance:
Relaxing the causation requirement might correct a perceived unfairness to some plaintiff who could prove the possibility of the medical malpractice cause and injury but could not prove the probability of causation, but at the same time could create injustice. Health care providers could find themselves defending cases simply because a patient fails to improve or where serious disease processes are not arrested because another course of action could possibly bring a better result.
In Dr. White’s opinion, detailed in his declaration submitted herewith, Dr. Lee did not cause or contribute to Plaintiff’s alleged injuries. In the absence of contradictory expert testimony, plaintiff cannot establish a causal link between Dr. Lee’s care and plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Since plaintiff cannot satisfy the elements essential to the success of his claim against Dr. Lee, summary judgment must be entered in favor of Dr. Lee.
For more information you are welcome to contact personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.