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Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case


Last week, I wrote about the elements of a Premises Liability case in the context of a mass shooting or other criminal attack. This week, I’m going to give you the elements of a Medical Malpractice case. You’ll notice that the elements of the two seemingly very different types of cases are similar. This is because NEGLIGENCE is the overarching concept to both types of cases. In fact, negligence is the overarching concept to most types of personal injury cases (e.g., slip & fall, car accident, product liability, workplace accident, etc.).

For Medical Malpractice, the negligence elements look like this:

1. The care provider had a duty, which is to provide the service in accordance with the accepted standard of medical care or practice;

2. The care provider’s service or conduct breached the duty, by departing from the accepted standard of medical care or practice;

3. The plaintiff or patient was injured, and thus, sustained damages; and

4. The care provider’s service or conduct caused the plaintiff or patient’s injuries.

While nearly all negligence claims involve Duty, Breach, Causation, and Damages, each type of negligence case has distinguishing factors and unique legal nuances. As you can see from the nuances described in the elements above, the Medical Malpractice case requires specialized knowledge and the use of experts in particular fields to provide opinions regarding the appropriate standards of care, to explain the injuries, and to determine whether a medical provider made a mistake that rises to the level of “malpractice.”

For this reason, it’s very difficult to determine whether you have a viable Medical Malpractice case without having consulted with a personal injury lawyer or a doctor. Rather, most people simply sense that a “mistake” was made. In rare cases, the mistake is obvious (such as when a piece of medical equipment is left inside the patient, or the doctor amputated the wrong limb).

Whether you simply have a hunch, or you know a medical provider did something wrong that has caused you injury, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.

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