4 crucial elements in medical malpractice claims

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

Patients attend hospitals and medical facilities to improve their health and well-being. This is something that doctors and medical staff are trained to do. For the most part, improved health is what most patients experience, but that isn’t always the case.

Doctors and medical staff are human, which means they are prone to making mistakes. When does a mistake cross the line and become medical malpractice?

For this to happen, the following four elements must be satisfied.

1. A duty of care must be established

The first step in any medical malpractice claim is establishing whether or not a duty of care was owed. This is usually the most straightforward element to satisfy. If a patient has attended a consultation with a doctor, then that doctor owes them a duty of care.

2. Was there a breach of duty of care?

The next step is to establish whether or not a breach of duty occurred. While doctors are not expected to be perfect, they are expected to act to a reasonable standard within the profession. Acting unreasonably may amount to a breach of duty of care. For example, if the doctor fails to diagnose a condition that other doctors would have been reasonably expected to diagnose, this may be a breach of duty.

3. The breach must cause injury

In medical malpractice cases, direct causation must also be established. The negligent actions or omissions of a doctor must result in injuries to the patient. If the doctor made a mistake, but no harm was suffered as a result, then there is no direct causation and thus no medical malpractice.

4. Quantifiable damages

For a medical malpractice case to stand, the patient must have suffered economic or noneconomic damages that can be measured. For instance, if the medical negligence resulted in the patient taking time off of work, then they have lost wages. While trickier to measure, pain and suffering and psychological trauma can also be considered in medical malpractice cases.

If your medical team let you down, then seeking legal guidance can give you a better idea of whether or not medical malpractice occurred.

FindLaw Network