Medical Malpractice 101 Litigation Guide

Medical Malpractice 101 - We're here to help.

​In this article, our medical malpractice lawyers break down Michigan's complex medical malpractice process and law in the state. If you have been injured by a doctor, hospital, nurse, or other healthcare provider, contact us for a free case review.

The term “malpractice” refers to the negligence of a professional who is licensed by the State of Michigan, such as a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, accountant and so on. “Medical malpractice” refers specifically to negligence committed by a licensed healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse, or a licensed health facility, such as a hospital or doctor’s office, that results in an injury, such as a surgical injury, birth injury, or disease progression.

How do medical malpractice cases work?

To prove the healthcare provider was negligent, the patient must establish the applicable standard of care and prove that standard of care was “breached” (i.e., not followed) - this is what is commonly referred to as "negligence".  A healthcare provider is “negligent” when he or she failed to act as a reasonable doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or other healthcare provider. What is reasonable is determined by what a healthcare provider with ordinary knowledge, training, and experience would have done in the same or similar circumstance.

Just proving the healthcare provider, or facility, was negligent is not enough to recover “damages” (monetary compensation for losses). The patient must also prove that the negligence caused an injury and that the injury resulted in damages (i.e. lost wages, medical expenses or pain and suffering).  We prove negligence, causation, injury and damages through the litigation process.  Litigation doesn’t just mean going to court and having a trial.  The litigation process starts months before a lawsuit is even filed, and oftentimes ends before a trial. 

How are medical malpractice cases litigated?

Here is an outline explaining how a medical malpractice case progresses from the first phone call to trial.

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