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Cross-examination may be key to a medical malpractice lawsuit

Individuals in Texas who have been harmed by a medical professional's negligence may hope to recover compensation for their damages via a medical malpractice claim. Victims of hospital negligence can succeed on these claims if they are able to successfully prove that their medical professional who treated them owed them a duty of care, that duty was breached by some form of negligence and the breach of the duty of care directly caused the victim's injuries. It sound pretty straightforward, but when these matters proceed to a contentious trial, things may not be so clear.

For example, the defense in one of these cases may call witnesses that contradict evidence and claims utilized by the plaintiff. In these instances, effective cross-examination may be crucial to protecting one's case. During cross-examination, where the side that didn't call a witness questions that witness, a plaintiff can try to impeach the witness, whereby the witness's credibility is drawn into question. This may be achieved by exposing potential biases or prejudices.

Whereas direct examination of a witness is all about the evidence the witness can provide, cross-examination is more about damage control. A plaintiff is unlikely to win a case with strong cross-examination by the defense and weak direct examination by the plaintiff, but he or she can certainly lose a case by having weak cross-examination by the plaintiff.

With that in mind, those who are considering pursuing a medical malpractice case, whether on the basis of surgical errors, birth injuries or failures to diagnose medical conditions, may want to consider whether they need legal assistance. A skilled litigator can help victims prepare their case for trial and give them the advocacy they need to not only put forth the best case possible under the circumstances, but also expose weakness's in potential defenses. This may allow them to recover compensation for the damages caused by their serious injuries.

Source: American Bar Association, "Cross-Examination," accessed on Feb. 13, 2017

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