Medical malpractice refers to when patient is harmed by a doctor who has failed to adhere to his or her standard or care. In order to prevail on a claim for medical malpractice, several elements must be satisfied. These elements comprise the tort of negligence and will be discussed below.
- Duty—First, a plaintiff must establish that the doctor owed him or her a duty of care. This element is easily met so long as the plaintiff can show that there was a doctor-patient relationship between him or her and the practitioner.
- Breach—Second, to prevail, a plaintiff must show that the doctor breached his duty. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the doctor failed to live up to the requisite standard of care.
- Causation—Third, the plaintiff must show that the breach caused his or her harm. While causation may ostensibly seem like an easy element to prove, it can be a tricky element in many cases. For example, if a patient dies after treatment for lung cancer, and the doctor did do something negligent, it could be hard to prove that the doctor's negligence caused the death rather than the cancer.
- Damages—Finally, the plaintiff must be able to show the damages he or she suffered as a result of the doctor failing to live up to the requisite standard of care. Damages can include physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills and lost work and lost earning capacity.
If you or a loved one were injured or think you may have been injured because of the malpractice of a doctor, contact our lawyers for a free and confidential case evaluation. Call 1-866-LAW-2400 or complete the contact form on this website.