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Elements of medical malpractice


Medical malpractice happens when a patient decides to sue a medical professional for injuries suffered as a result of that medical professional's negligence. Now, there is a lot of legal terminology that goes along with filing a medical malpractice suit, terminology that the average layperson may not be privy to. In medical malpractice cases, there are a number of elements that have to be satisfied in order to win this type of claim. Essentially, when suing over a medical mistake, you are suing based on negligence. By filing the claim you are saying that a particular professional in the medical field did not do what they were supposed to do and that such improper action or inaction resulted in injuries.

Negligence is a legal concept that is defined as owing a duty to someone else and by not living up to that duty someone is harmed. The elements of negligence, as it relates to medical malpractice, are as follows: duty owed by a medical professional, breach of that duty, causation (which means that the breach proximately caused the injury sustained), and damages. Success in a negligence claim is dependent upon proving each element of the claim to the appropriate legal standard.

With respect to a medical malpractice case, the professional standard of care is quite specific. As it relates to this type of claim, a doctor or a nurse is held to the standard of the ordinary reasonable physician or nurse in a similar capacity and with similar skill. Whatever is reasonably prudent is the standard of care that is utilized to determine the duty owed by that particular medical professional. Medical malpractice cases are difficult cases to prove but not impossible.

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