Brief Fact Summary. The Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford-New Britain at New Britain (Connecticut) awarded damages to the patient in her dental malpractice action but reduced the award after finding that the patient failed to mitigate her damages, denied the dentist’s motion to set aside the judgment, and denied the patient’s motion for a bill of costs. Both Plaintiff patient and Defendant dentist appealed the decision.
Synopses of Rules of Law. In order to prevail in a medical malpractice action the plaintiff must prove (1) the requisite standard of care for treatment, (2) a deviation from that standard of care, and (3) a causal connection between the deviation and the claimed injury. To prove that a physician has breached the legally required standard of care, the plaintiff must offer some evidence that the conduct of the physician was negligent. Testimony of an expert witness is necessary to establish both the standard of proper professional skill or care on the part of a physician and that the defendant failed to conform to that standard of care.
One who is injured by the negligence of another must use reasonable care to promote recovery and prevent any aggravation or increase of the injuries. When there are facts in evidence that indicate that a plaintiff may have failed to promote his recovery and do what a reasonably prudent person would be expected to do under the same circumstances, the court, when requested to do so, is obliged to charge on the duty to mitigate damages.
* Did the trial court correctly finds that plaintiff had met her burden with respect to the elements of medical malpractice?
* Was the trial court correct in reducing damages because plaintiff failed to mitigate her injuries in accordance with the avoidable consequences rule?
Held. The trial court’s judgment was affirmed.
* Yes. The court ruled that the trial court’s finding that the patient had established the elements necessary to prove dental malpractice by the dentist was correct.
* Yes. The court agreed with the reduction in damages because the patient’s conduct exacerbated her initial injury.
In order to prevail in a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must prove (1) the requisite standard of care for treatment, (2) a deviation from that standard of care, and (3) a causal connection between the deviation and the claimed injury.View Full Point of Law