When a person seeks medical care, they believe that the medical care provider will not harm them during the course of treatment. When harm does occur, it is considered medical malpractice or medical negligence.
When you are claiming medical malpractice, four factors must be met to establish that negligence has occurred:
1. There was a duty of care between the medical care provider and you.
2. That duty was breached during the course of treatment.
3. That breach of duty (causation) led to you being harmed.
4. The harm caused you financial damages.
Duty of Care
Duty of care establishes that there was a relationship between the patient and the medical care provider. If you went to a doctor to seek medical care for a condition and that doctor agreed to treat you for that condition, a duty of care is automatically established between the two parties.
Breach of Duty
If a patient feels that the treatment they received resulted in them being harmed, a breach of duty has occurred. For example, a patient may present to the doctor with a specific type of pain and medical history that would normally dictate that the patient is tested for cancer, but the doctor only treats the patient for a pulled muscle and tells the person to take it easy while they recover. The delayed diagnosis of cancer can lead to significant harm to the patient..
Causation of Injury
This is where things can become complicated in a medical malpractice case. It is the patient’s burden to prove that the medical care provider’s actions caused the injury and that care received from any other care provider would not have produced the same results.
This will require that the attorney managing the case carefully review all medical records with a professional’s assistance and determine if the injury received was actually a result of the care received. For some cases, such as poor outcomes to surgery or misdiagnosis, it needs to be proven that the outcome would have been different with another provider and not just the risks associated with that type of care.
A majority of the work on a medical malpractice case will be focused on this portion of the case. If causation cannot be proved, the court will not accept the case.
Harm Caused by Injury
This portion of a case is easy to prove. If the patient has had to seek additional medical care, has missed work or lost benefits or suffered any additional financial losses resulting from the injury, the harm is proven.
Working With a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice claims can be complicated and will require medical professionals to review all of the data. If you believe that you have been harmed by the care you received from your doctor, speak with a medical malpractice attorney about your case.