What is the burden of proof in medical malpractice claims?

It is human nature when something terrible happens to a baby to think that someone should be held responsible. But the most important thing you need to remember in any birth injury claim is that the plaintiff (you) bears the burden of proof.

So how much evidence do you need to provide to meet the burden of proof?

Most people who watch television or the movies are familiar with the expression: “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”.

That is NOT the burden that applies in medical malpractice claims for compensation; it is the burden that applies to criminal prosecutions.

In a medical malpractice claim the plaintiff (you) bear the burden of proof: “on the
balance of probabilities”. In other words, is it more likely than not that the doctor
was negligent and that the negligence caused your baby’s injuries.

So what does that mean? The easiest way to think about this is to consider a pair of scales.

All the evidence for your claim is placed on one side of the scale. All the evidence against your claim is placed on the other side of the scale.

As long as the scales tip, even a little bit, to the side for your claim, then you have met the burden of proof on the balance of probabilities.


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