What Is Medical Malpractice? (PDF)
Medical malpractice is when a doctor, hospital, or other health care provider does not provide the appropriate care and the patient suffers as a result. To prove medical malpractice, there are four key elements:
- Existence of a doctor-patient relationship
- Provision of medical care that is below the accepted standard of care.
- Medical professional’s negligence
- Patient suffered damages
How Can I Prove Medical Malpractice?
To demonstrate medical malpractice, the plaintiff must show that the healthcare provider was negligent and that this negligence caused harm. There are a handful of elements involved in proving this. Typically, these consist of:
Duty of care — The health professional had to be negligent, which means they didn’t meet the appropriate standard when it came to their client’s care.
Breach of duty — The healthcare provider violated their duty to the patient.
Causation — The injury had to have been done “directly” by the violation of duty.
Damages — There must be some degree of economic or non-economic damages as a result of the “harm.” For example, there may have been additional medical bills or emotional suffering endured as a result.
What Can you collect damages for?
- Medical costs
- Property damage
- Pain, both physical and emotional.
- Funeral expenses
If medical malpractice is particularly egregious and warrants it, a court may assign punitive damages.