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4 basic elements of a medical malpractice case

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

Medical care providers and facilities go through many years of schooling and training so they can adequately help people in need. However, this alone does not mean these providers are without fault. 

If a patient seeks help from a doctor or facility only to come away feeling worse, it may mean something went wrong with the care. While it does not always mean the mistake was purposeful, if it was due to a careless oversight or path of care, it may qualify as a medical malpractice case. Discover the four D’s that may point the way to getting a medical malpractice case rolling.

1. Duty

Medical providers and facilities have a responsibility to provide reasonable care for patients. This standard of care is something that every medical provider must abide by including: 

  • Providing a high level of care in diagnosis and treatment 
  • Keeping patient information confidential 
  • Informing patients of any potential side effects and risks with procedures and treatment 
  • Limiting their scope of treatment to their specialty

2. Dereliction

Even though the standard of care and duty is something providers learn about early in their education, there are times they may deviate from it. When this happens, it may qualify as a dereliction of duty. This prong of a malpractice case is the most important. A plaintiff must show that the provider was negligent in either failing to administer proper or timely care.

3. Direct cause

The plaintiff must provide concrete evidence that the medical provider’s action was the cause of the injury or illness. If a provider’s failure to act, such as in rendering a diagnosis, caused the patient harm, this also falls under the direct cause prong.

4. Damages

The last foundational element of a malpractice case is damage. The plaintiff must show that the provider’s negligence caused harm. This may come in the way of a permanent and life-altering injury, lost time from work or steep medical bills for corrective treatment. 

If a plaintiff can show that a medical provider’s mistake meets the four D’s, then a malpractice suit may proceed.