The Elements of Medical Malpractice



Suppose you’re suffering an illness or injury due to a medical error. Medical bills pile up, and you can’t work due to your injury. A successful medical malpractice claim may be able to help pay for medical expenses and lost wages. The next question many ask is, “How do I file a medical malpractice claim?” 

You need to prove four elements of medical negligence to receive compensation in a medical malpractice claim. This post will examine the type of evidence you need to prove your medical malpractice claim and how to improve your chances of winning a settlement.

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Four elements of medical negligence

For a medical malpractice claim to be valid in the legal system, you must meet specific requirements. The four essential elements of medical malpractice are: 

  1. a medical duty of care;
  2. breach of duty;
  3. injury caused by the breach;
  4. damages resulting from the injury. 

Medical duty of care

One of the first things you need to prove in a medical malpractice case is that there was a professional medical duty of care owed to you as a patient. 

The doctor-patient relationship is a primary example of a professional medical duty of care to the patient. This duty is established as soon as the doctor agrees to treat you as a patient. 

Suppose you’re sick or injured and go to a medical clinic or hospital and receive care from a doctor or health-care provider. In that case, they have a professional duty to provide care. 

Breach of duty of care

The next thing you need to prove in a medical malpractice claim is that there was a breach of duty of care in your case. This breach means that the doctor or health-care provider did not provide the standard of care expected. In other words, their actions differ from professionals with similar training in the same situation. Usually, to prove that there was a breach of duty, you need other experts to testify about the standard of care. 

Examples of a breach of duty include:

  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose an illness
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Lack of follow-up diagnostic tests
  • Failure to take a thorough patient history

Injury caused by the breach of duty

The next element you need to prove in a medical malpractice claim is that the negligence or breach of duty directly injured or harmed you. Usually, in medical malpractice cases, the medical malpractice attorney will show that the misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose an illness led to further complications or that you didn’t receive necessary treatment in a timely manner. 

Some surgical or treatment error cases may require you to undergo additional treatment. This treatment wouldn’t have been necessary if the doctor didn’t make a mistake. 

It’s necessary to prove an injury occurred due to the doctor’s error or negligence. If the doctor made an error, but you recovered anyway, there is no case for medical malpractice. 

Damages due to the injury

When bringing a medical malpractice claim to court, the goal is to receive a monetary award. How to calculate damages is often complicated. One clear element is the amount of damages you receive is connected to the injuries or losses. 

Damages can cover things like medical costs, additional treatment, lost wages due to missed work, or compensation for pain and suffering because of medical negligence. 

If your illness or injury is due to a doctor’s negligence or medical malpractice, you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Contact LegalASAP today to connect with our network of trustworthy local lawyers who can advise you on your case. They can let you know if your claim meets all the elements of medical negligence.