Imagine this: you went to the hospital to have your appendix removed –
a fairly routine procedure. You trusted that the surgeon was qualified
to handle the procedure, but something went wrong, and now you are experiencing
excruciating pain. The doctor says you are suffering from unexpected complications.
Is this a case of
medical malpractice? The short answer is, it depends.
There are four basic elements to every medical malpractice claim: duty,
breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty: Every medical professional owes their patients a “duty of care.”
In other words, they have an obligation to act reasonably and appropriately
when providing any type of care or treatment. However, this duty only
exists if a doctor-patient relationship has been established. If that
relationship has been established, the doctor is obligated to provide
treatment with a certain degree of skill and care.
Breach of Duty: When a doctor fails to uphold their duty of care – meaning they
have deviated from or fallen below an acceptable standard of care –
they are liable for any damages that are suffered by the patient as a
result. When there is a “breach of duty,” it means that the
medical professional has failed to act competently, thus forming the basis
of negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Causation: In order for the plaintiff to recover compensation in a medical malpractice
claim, they must be able to show that there is a direct cause between
their injuries (or other damages) and the medical professional’s
breach of duty. For example, if a doctor made a procedural error during
surgery, but the patient suffered complications due to an unrelated factor,
there would be no causation.
Damages: In order to file a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, the victim
must also be able to show that they have suffered actual damages –
whether they be economic (financial damages) or non-economic (pain and
suffering). If a doctor failed to uphold their duty of care to a patient,
but the patient suffered no harm as a result, there would be no grounds
for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Think You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim? Call The Maher Law Firm.
The Orlando medical malpractice attorneys at
The Maher Law Firm have been protecting the rights of injured victims since 1969. If you
or someone you love was injured at the hands of a negligent medical professional,
we encourage you to discuss your options with a member of our firm. We
offer free initial consultations to all potential clients, so you would
have nothing to lose by giving us a call today.
Contact The Maher Law Firm today at (855) 338-0720 to schedule your FREE initial consultation.