What Are the 4 Elements of Malpractice?


Medical malpractice happens quite often in the US and it is a huge expense for the medical industry. Medical injuries are estimated to be between $17 to $29 billion per year. Recognizing that you experienced a case of medical malpractice can be tricky, as not all negative healthcare experiences can be categorized as med mal. In order to have a case, you have to show that there was negligence leading up to the medical malpractice incident. There are four elements of medical malpractice, which include establishing the professional duty of healthcare practitioners, a breach of that duty, an injury caused by that breach, and that there were resultant damages. If all of these four tenets occurred, you can seek damages for both economic and non-economic compensation.

Exploring the Four Elements of Medical Malpractice

You can seek compensation if you believe a doctor or healthcare practitioner has acted carelessly and you suffered as a result. The four elements of malpractice have to be apparent in your situation before you file a claim.

Professional Duty Owed to Patient

According to this URL, your healthcare professional has a duty to act professionally. They have to make the appropriate decisions and not take unreasonable actions. They are required to care for you and provide proper treatment. If these needs aren’t met, then they failed to deliver their duty of care. This means they fell below quality standards, making their actions that of neglect.

Breach of Duty

This is when your healthcare practitioner has breached their duty. Your doctor or healthcare provider owes you a professional duty to provide valuable services. They should treat you appropriately and make knowledgeable decisions. If you are sent home and not treated, or ignored and not attended to, these are examples of a breach of duty case.

Injury Caused by Breach

The causation is the result of the healthcare provider’s mistakes. If their actions caused a breach of healthcare standards and you were harmed, this can become a personal injury case. For example, this can occur when you are misdiagnosed, where a doctor may believe you have the wrong disease. Alternatively, you can be given the wrong medicine, the wrong dosage, or no medicine at all. Sometimes, there is no diagnosis at all and you are sent home believing you are okay, but this results in additional harm. Once causation has happened, then the practitioners are liable for your damages.

Damages Due to Breach

When you have been harmed by your doctor or healthcare provider’s decisions, the economic loss you endured is then considered to be damages. These damages resulted because of the neglectful and careless actions of your doctor or their team. Medical errors and mistakes can cause pain and suffering, income loss, physical or mental injury, or prolonged illness. If there was no harm at all, then there are no damages or medical malpractice.

What Damages Can You Claim for Malpractice?

Damages can include the economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages you experienced.

Economic Damages

Economic damages caused by malpractice include medical bills you had to pay to manage the harm that was done. Therapy or treatment expenses are included in this figure, as well as prescription medicine. You can also seek reimbursement for any income loss you suffered. Loss of income can include both past and future earnings.

Noneconomic Damages

Pain and suffering is an important concept of medical malpractice and personal injury law. When you go to a doctor, you should expect to to receive medical care that’s commensurate with medical industry standards. Instead, the issue is prolonged or worsened. Your life can also be at risk if the doctor made a mistake big enough that it could have caused death. If you experienced grief, shame, depression, and other dark emotions, this is considered pain and suffering. You may also be experiencing physical pain and discomfort, which is also part of this category.

Punitive Damages

This is in the extreme scenario that a doctor or healthcare practitioner intentionally caused you harm. However, you would have to provide additional information to show how or why this occurred. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded when the doctor made a conscious decision that may have caused you harm. They were aware of different options, but chose one that reduced the level of quality they could have provided you. For example, they may have given you a smaller dosage than you required for a particular treatment. Perhaps the clinic you were at was low on supplies, and they didn’t provide enough pain medicine. Things like this can be difficult to collect evidence for, but you can work with an attorney to help guide you through these situations.

Learn More About What Defines Malpractice

To get additional help, speak with a knowledgeable attorney who is well versed in medical malpractice. You can work with a supportive team with a proven track record of results.

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