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There are 4 key elements in medical malpractice claims

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

When a person seeks medical treatment, they expect to receive a high standard of care. Not only is this a valid expectation, but medical professionals have a legal duty to perform to the expected standards within the field.

Generally, this is what happens, and many patients leave medical facilities feeling much better or at least with treatments that will make them feel better. Unfortunately, there are occasions when medical professionals fall below the required standard.

In such instances, a patient may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. There are four key elements that a patient will need to prove, sometimes referred to as “the four Ds”. Outlined below are the four key elements of medical malpractice claims.

1. The duty of care

For a medical malpractice claim to stand, the patient must first establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care. Generally, this is relatively straightforward to prove. As soon as a doctor or medical professional holds a consultation with a patient, they owe them a duty of care.

2. A dereliction of that duty

Next, the patient must show that the medical professional breached their duty of care. There are a number of ways that this can happen. For example, if the doctor misdiagnoses the patient by not taking the appropriate diagnostic steps. Or, if a correct diagnosis was made but the wrong type of treatment was administered.

The actions taken by the medical professional must be negligent and contrary to the steps that others in the profession would have reasonably taken.

3. Direct causation

Importantly, the breach of duty must have directly caused injury to the patient. If an error was made, but there were no resulting injuries, then the requirements for a medical malpractice claim fall are not satisfied.

4. Damages

Finally, the patient must have suffered some form of quantifiable damage. For example, they may have incurred further medical expenses or had to take extended time off of work. Non-economic damages, such as physical pain and psychological trauma can also be factored into a medical malpractice claim.

Medical malpractice cases can be complex. This is why it’s so important to have the appropriate legal guidance on your side.