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Medical Malpractice Elements

Medical Malpractice Elements

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute malpractice is defined as: “The tort committed when a professional fails to properly execute their duty to a client. The duty of a professional to a client is generally defined as the duty to follow generally accepted professional standards. Malpractice suits are most common against doctors”. A medical malpractice claim comes about when a person is injured because of a healthcare provider’s negligence. Or when a healthcare provider moves away from the accepted standard of care for patients. However, it doesn’t mean that if a patient suffers injury while in a doctor’s care a medical malpractice claim exists. This article will discuss medical malpractice elements showing that a patient has a valid claim against a healthcare professional.

There are four elements in a medical malpractice claim. These are:

  1. Doctor-patient relationship,
  2. Negligence,
  3. Causation and
  4. Damages

Medical Malpractice Elements: Doctor- Patient Relationship

There must exist a doctor-patient relationship. It is easy to assume that this is straight-forward, however, this can make the case complicated. The patient must seek out a doctor and the doctor must agree to treat. Agreeing to treat a patient can be shown by prescribing medication or surgery, therapy, etc.

Medical Malpractice Elements: Negligence

In some cases negligence can be proven by showing that the healthcare provider moved away from the standard of care. Such standards are based on accepted norms in the medical field. In order to establish whether the healthcare provider moved away from the standard of care find a medical expert. A medical expert may be necessary to explain the correct standard of care needed in the same case. Additionally, they would explain how a reasonable competent healthcare provider in the same field, training and knowledge would have acted.

A follow up article will discuss the two elements of causation and damages.

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