When someone goes to the hospital for treatment, the last thing they expect is that they will suffer from medical malpractice. As rare as you may suspect these injuries are, medical malpractice is actually the third leading cause of death in the country. Suffering an injury at the hospital does not always mean it was the result of a doctor’s negligence, however. For an injury to qualify as medical negligence, there need to be four legal elements present:
A doctor’s duty
The first element of a negligence claim is the establishment of the doctor’s duty to the patient. Every medical provider owes a specific level of care to their patients, but not in every situation. For example, while medical professionals owe a level of duty to the people who come to their hospital, they may not owe any duty to someone who is at the same restaurant as them.
Violating the standard of care
When a doctor provides care for their patients, they need to provide a certain level of care in their service. This quality of care refers to the level of care that a competent medical professional would offer a patient. It may qualify as negligence if a doctor deviates by misdiagnosing a patient, advising dangerous treatments, or prescribing dangerous medications or amounts of them.
In any kind of personal injury claim, there needs to be some form of damage. Oftentimes, these types of cases see considerable personal injuries with long-lasting or lifelong consequences, including injuries like nerve damage, loss of motor skills, and traumatic brain damage.
Direct cause of damage
The defenses in these cases may try to argue that the damages are not the result of the defendant’s actions, which is where this legal element comes in. The victim and their attorney must be able to prove that the actions the doctor or other medical staff member took when deviating from the standard of care directly caused the damages the victim sustained.
You can hold negligent doctors accountable
Anyone has the potential to make serious mistakes in their job, but for medical professionals, their mistakes can lead to catastrophic consequences. If you believe your hospital accident has these four elements to it, consult with an attorney to discuss how they can help you seek justice after your incident.