The four elements of a medical malpractice case

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

The John Hopkins University estimates that around 250,000 people die each year due to medical practitioners’ or facilities’ mistakes. It means medical errors are responsible for more Americans’ deaths than any other single cause except heart disease and cancer.

For every patient killed by medical error, many more suffer life-changing injuries or illnesses. When this happens, a medical malpractice claim may be an option.

What do you need to prove?

To succeed in your quest for compensation for an injury or illness suffered while a patient, you will need to prove these four elements were present:

  • Duty: You must show that those you’re holding responsible had a professional duty of care toward you.
  • Deviation: When looking at your case, a court will need to see that the defendants diverted from the expected standards. Defining an expected standard can be tricky. A court would not hold a young doctor who performs a life-saving intervention because no one else is available to the same standards as an experienced surgeon.
  • Damage: You will need proof of the injury or illness caused and its effect on you. Something you recover from quickly would likely not count. The harm needs to be significant and lasting.
  • Direct cause: You must prove the relationship between what the medical practitioners did or failed to do and the harm you suffered.

Do not expect your claim to be easy. Doctors will fight hard to protect their reputation. Their insurers will fight hard to avoid paying out. Due to the burden of proof required, medical malpractice lawsuits can be some of the most challenging cases. An experienced attorney can help you improve your chances of success.