One of the most complicated areas of the law is medical malpractice. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you need to understand your rights and the essential elements of a medical malpractice case.
At the heart of a medical malpractice case is providing proof that your doctor is guilty of negligence in providing care or treatment to you. There are four primary elements that must be demonstrated in order to prevail in a medical malpractice case. The four elements of a medical malpractice case are:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty of care
- Proximate cause
- Actual injuries, damages, or losses
- Duty of Care
The first element that must be proven in a medical malpractice case is the existence of a duty of care. A doctor in a professional relationship with a patient has a duty to exercise reasonable care in the provision of treatment to that individual. A duty of care only exists between a doctor and another individual if a doctor and patient relationship is established.
An example of a doctor’s duty of care is to accurately diagnose an illness. The duty exists if another doctor in the same situation would be able to provide an accurate diagnosis under the same set of circumstances.
- Breach of Duty of Care
The second element that must be demonstrated to prove a medical malpractice claim is a breach of the duty of care owed by a doctor to their patient. An example of a breach of a duty of care is the failure of a doctor to make an accurate diagnosis of an illness. As mentioned previously, the diagnosis must be one that any reasonably skilled doctor under the same circumstances would have been able to correctly make.
- Proximate Cause
The third component of proving medical malpractice is what is legally known as proximate cause. Proximate cause means that the breach of the duty of care must be the legal and actual cause of the injuries you sustained.
For example, if you had a particular illness that could be treated with a specific medication, but your doctor failed to make an accurate diagnosis, the injuries you suffer as a result would stem from the doctor’s error. The doctor’s negligence would be deemed the proximate cause of the injuries and losses you sustained.
- Actual Injuries, Damages, or Losses
Finally, in order to successfully prove medical malpractice, you must sustain an injury as a direct result of your doctor’s negligence. You cannot merely speculate that you might sustain injuries, damages, or losses at some future date because of the conduct of your doctor. Speculative injuries, damages, and losses that cannot be documented are not sufficient to support a medical malpractice claim.
Retain Legal Representation
Due to the complexity of a medical malpractice case, it may be in your best interest to take a proactive approach and retain legal counsel. The first step in retaining a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer Minneapolis MN trusts is scheduling what is known as an initial consultation. During the initial consultation, the attorney should provide an evaluation of your case. You also will have the opportunity to ask questions concerning your medical malpractice claim. A medical malpractice attorney typically charges no fee for the initial consultation.
Thanks to our friends from Johnston Martineau PLLP for their insight into personal injury cases.