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 brain injury/medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.
PLAINTIFF MUST PRESENT AFFIDAVITS OR DECLARATIONS OF COMPETENT EXPERTS TO AVOID THE GRANTING OF THIS MOTION
In a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must present expert testimony to establish the necessary elements of his or her case; that is, that the defendant’s act or omission fell below the applicable standard of practice, and that this substandard care caused the plaintiff injury. Folk v. Kilt (1975) 53 Cal.App.3d at 176 [126 Cal.Rptr. 172]. Accordingly, plaintiff must come forward with admissible evidence, by a competent qualified physician, that the care and treatment rendered by the moving defendant fell below the applicable standard of care and actually caused plaintiff’s injuries and damages. (Folk, supra, at page 176.) Absent such evidence, there is no triable issue as to any material fact.
THE CARE RENDERED BY DEFENDANT IN NO WAY CAUSED OR CONTRIBUTED TO THE INJURIES COMPLAINED OF BY PLAINTIFF
In addition to proving that the defendant fell below the standard of care, to prevail on any medical negligence claimed, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s malpractice caused injury to the plaintiff. Bolen v. Woo (1979) 96 Cal.App.3d 944, 953.
The standard for establishing causation in a medical malpractice action was set forth in Jones v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation (1985) 163 Cal.App.3d 396. In Jones, the court held that causation must be proven by reasonable medical probability based upon competent expert testimony. The court noted that a mere possibility is insufficient to establish a prima facie case and distinguished a reasonable medical probability from a medical possibility:
There can be many possible causes, indeed an indefinite number of circumstances which can produce an injury or death. A possible cause only becomes probable when in the absence of other reasonable causal connections, it becomes more likely than not that the injury was a result of its action. Id. at 402-403. (See Part 7 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.