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Many malpractice claims face the obstacle of proving causation

Among the various requirements that need to be met for a medical malpractice claim to be successful in Oklahoma, perhaps the most challenging is that of proving causation. On the one hand, it is relatively easy to show that a doctor or other medical professional failed to adhere to a standard of care. That standard must, of course, be reasonable for the circumstances in which the injury occurred. Linking that negligence to the injury is another matter.

The challenge lies in the nature of certain medical conditions and procedures. A patient may undergo surgery, for example, with the awareness that he or she may develop complications. Since these complications can develop where there is no negligence, proving that they developed because of negligence is difficult.

A patient who incurred an orthopedic injury like a fracture will also have trouble proving causation if the injury heals improperly and leaves him or her with residual issues. This is, again, because such issues can arise even where doctors follow the accepted standard of care.

Delayed cancer diagnoses provide another example. Cancer, with its high mortality rate, can lead to a patient's death even when the diagnosis is a timely one. It is up to the plaintiff to show that the delayed diagnosis negatively affected the prognosis and treatment.

This is not the only obstacle, though. Victims who wish to file a claim will need to know about medical malpractice law and have specialized knowledge of the appropriate medical field, too. This is where hiring a lawyer may come in handy. Personal injury lawyers usually maintain a network of investigators, medical professionals and expert witnesses, among other third parties, who can help strengthen a case. Victims might normally leave all negotiations to their lawyer. As a last resort, the lawyer may litigate.

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