Given that we put so much trust in the medical system when we are sick or injured, nobody wants to think about the frightening possibility of medical malpractice. However, malpractice is a reality, and when it occurs the victims (or relatives of the victims) rightfully demand compensation. However, malpractice cases are some of the most likely to fail before they even get to the courtroom. According to Findlaw, many malpractice cases fail, or are not “actionable,” because they lack proximate cause.

What is proximate cause?

Proximate cause is generally what a malpractice case hinges on. In order for there to be a malpractice case, there first must be an established relationship of duty. Namely, for malpractice, there has to be a patient-doctor (or other medical entity) relationship. Next, there must be proof that the duty the medical entity had to the patient was breached in some way.

The third requirement is proximate cause. Essentially, this is the part of the case that shows how the negligent duties of the medical entity actually caused illness, injury, or death. For instance, proximate cause can be very difficult to prove when a 90-year-old with cancer passes away, since it is very possible that this person would have died no matter what any medical personnel did.

How can I be sure that my malpractice case is actionable?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this, it is a good idea to try and start pursuing your medical malpractice case as early as possible. The longer that you wait to file, the more likely it is for evidence to be harder to find and for any eyewitness accounts to become increasingly unreliable.