A medical malpractice case, while fundamentally easy to understand, can be one of the most difficult cases to try in a New Hampshire courtroom. In a medical negligence action, the plaintiff must prove a claim that is very similar to an ordinary negligence case, such as a slip and fall or automobile accident. Specifically, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the medical provider was obligated to do a certain thing or refrain from doing a certain thing, the medical provider failed to act or refrain from acting, and as a result of the medical provider’s failure the plaintiff was injured.
Where a medical negligence action diverges from a more routine automobile accident or slip and fall case concerns the evidence the plaintiff must present at trial. There is a statue in New Hampshire which requires the plaintiff, in order to proceed with a medical negligence action, to introduce expert testimony which shows, amongst other things, what the medical provider was supposed to do or not do when the treatment was rendered and that the medical provider’s failure to act in accordance with this “standard of care” caused the plaintiff’s injury.
The expert witness must be a person who is familiar with the standard of care that was in existence when the treatment was rendered. Usually, this takes the form of another medical provider with similar or superior training and experience as the provider being sued. Attempts to “cut corners” with this expert witness can result in the jury disbelieving the expert or, at worse, the court dismissing the action prior to the case even reaching the jury.
Andrew J. Piela is a Director at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. Mr. Piela concentrates his practice in civil litigation, family law, probate and land use litigation. You can reach Attorney Piela by e-mail at [email protected].