Elements of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when the healthcare provider’s care is short of the standard of care in most circumstances. Generally, medical malpractice is regarded as negligence or recklessness of care from the provider, but to legally show malpractice, there are four elements that must be proven. As a medical malpractice lawyer can explain, not every negative outcome in healthcare is medical malpractice. Not every patient responds to treatment. Doctors make mistakes. Medical malpractice turns on these issues.

Duty of Care

The duty of care refers to the doctor-patient relationship. It can also refer to any healthcare provider relationship. For a case to rise to the level of malpractice, you must show that the provider had a relationship to provide care. A doctor who watched you have a heart attack on the bus and did nothing would not be liable for malpractice, even though you were probably harmed as a result of the inaction. That doctor had no relationship to you to provide care.

Dereliction of Care

This refers to negligence from the standard of care. You would look at how another doctor or provider would act in similar circumstances and what type of care would be provided. Many medical malpractice cases revolve around this concept. Medical professionals often don’t want to criticize each other’s performances. It can be difficult to show that there was a dereliction of care from your healthcare provider.

Direct Causation

Third, you must establish that the healthcare provider’s dereliction of care was the direct cause of your damages. While this can seem straightforward, in many cases, there are other factors that could have affected your health. Sometimes illnesses aren’t treatable, and there’s nothing the provider can do.

Damages – The Price of Suffering

Finally, a medical malpractice case hinges on damages and the harm you have suffered, both physically and mentally. Where it gets sticky is trying to name an amount for the emotional suffering you experienced. On the other hand, some damages are easy to identify, such as lost wages or additional medical bills.

Medical Malpractice Cases Are Complex

If you suspect you have a medical malpractice claim, you may need to work with a malpractice lawyer who can guide you through the process. These cases are complex and not easily proven by someone unfamiliar with the law. You only have a certain timeline to file your case, so take action to protect your rights. Make an appointment with an attorney who can assess your claim and help you take the next steps in your situation.

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