I am not a doctor, so the first thing I do is get all of the medical records and send them to a doctor to review and see if there is malpractice by your doctor.
The standard of care is what the majority of doctors would do if faced with the same situation your doctor was faced with.
Sometimes it is easy to see that your doctor has violated the standard of care ? if he prescribed a medicine he knew you were allergic to, for example. Other times it is very complicated and doctors practicing in a specialty disagree as to whether the standard of care has been violated.
There is also a limit to what you can recover for pain and suffering in these cases ? $250,000, set by state law, no matter what the injury is, and even if it resulted in death. This does not seem fair for death or for very severe injuries, but that is the law in California.