Medical NegligenceMedical negligence actions in the state of Alabama are governed by the Alabama Medical Liability Act. This act was passed by the Alabama legislature and it requires a person who claims to have been injured by the negligence of a health care professional to prove certain things. One of the requirements that is unusual is that the dean of the Medical School of Harvard Universsity is not qualified to come to Alabama to testify that your doctor did anything wrong. A dentist may not testify against a orthodontist and an orthodontist may not testify against an endodontist. Requirements of the Act are that the medical specialist must be equally qualified, licensed to practice, and actually practiced in the same field as the health care professional you allege has committed an act of medical negligence. If that physician is board certified then the expert you rely on must be board certified.
Medical negligence is defined as a breach of the relevant standard of care. Damages must result as a proximate result of that breach. These cases are very difficult to win and very difficult to prove. One of the reasons is that doctors are reluctant to testify against each other and another more practical reason is that most doctors out there are really trying to help people. That is no excuse for negligence, but the intent is different and I think the jury often sees that.
Personal injury lawyers who do medical negligence actions have to prove what the standard of care is through the testimony of an equally well qualified health care professional or book that is recognized in the field. You have to prove that that standard was breached and prove that breach of that standard was an act of negligence that caused the harm that you claim. Statistics show that lawyers who file these claims are losing about 8 out of 10 even though some reports indicate that medical negligence is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.