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The Four Medical Malpractice Elements: What Are They and How Do You Prove Them?

Medical Malpractice Elements

When you see a doctor, it’s reasonable to expect to receive only the best care. Unfortunately, doctors are humans, too, and humans make mistakes. And when your doctor fails to provide adequate care or treatment, you may be left in a worse condition than before. These are four medical malpractice elements to know if you get stuck in a medical malpractice case.

If you’ve been harmed at the hands of a medical provider, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice. Rely on the legal guidance of a dedicated medical malpractice lawyer at The Joel Bieber Firm, and contact us for a consultation today.

What Is Medical Malpractice?


Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, healthcare provider, or medical facility’s negligent act or omission causes a patient harm. This area of law falls under the umbrella of personal injury, as victims suffer some form of injury from medical malpractice.

If you’ve suffered an injury due to medical malpractice or negligence, you’ve likely encountered health issues and mounting medical bills. Allowing a personal injury lawyer to file a claim on your behalf can help you pursue justice while also allowing you to seek monetary compensation for your injuries and losses.


Proving The 4 Elements Of Medical Malpractice


There are many moving parts to a medical malpractice claim. One of the most critical parts of this type of case is proving that medical malpractice occurred in the first place.

Proving medical malpractice involves establishing what is referred to as the four Ds: duty, dereliction, direct cause, and damages.

For victims of medical malpractice, it is especially important to understand the meaning and significance of each of these four medical malpractice elements:

1. Duty: Your Doctor Owed You a Duty of Care


You must first prove a doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the defendant. If there was such a relationship, this would mean the defendant owed you a duty of care.

Healthcare professionals owe their patients a heightened duty of care. This duty is the same duty a medical professional of the same background, education, and experience would owe their patients. Physicians must uphold accepted medical practices without any deviation.

2. Dereliction: Your Doctor Breached Their Duty of Care


Once you’ve established a doctor-patient relationship existed and the party owed you a duty of care, you must move on to proving a breach of this duty.

There are several ways medical professionals can breach their duty, causing their patients harm. Some of the most common acts or omissions at the center of medical malpractice cases include:

  • Failing to diagnose, or incorrectly diagnosing a medical condition
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
  • Leaving surgical objects or instruments inside a patient during surgery
  • Performing surgery on the wrong area of the body
  • Failing to recognize the signs and symptoms of a medical condition
  • Failing to order appropriate lab tests for diagnosis
  • Discharging a patient too soon

If your doctor’s action — or inaction — eventually results in serious harm to your health and well-being, they likely breached their duty of care.


Medical Malpractice Elements
Medical Malpractice Elements

3. Direct Cause: Your Doctor’s Breach Caused Your Harm


After establishing duty and breach, you must show the relationship between your doctor’s breach and your harm. In other words, you must show that your physician’s actions were the actual cause of your injuries.

Creating the connection between breach and cause is often challenging. This is usually because defense lawyers may try to argue that something or someone else caused your harm, such as a pre-existing condition or a different treating physician.

Proving your medical provider’s actions were the direct cause of your harm is only one of the many reasons having an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side is essential.

4. Damages: You Suffered Losses as a Result of Your Injuries


Finally, you must prove the injuries caused by your provider’s malpractice resulted in losses, whether financial or otherwise.

Damages compensate victims for the harm they’ve suffered. Financial compensation is either classified as economic or non-economic.

Economic losses could include:

  • Medical expenses, including medication, hospital stays, and surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost pay
  • Loss of future earning capacity

Economic losses are quantifiable and often easier to verify.

In contrast, non-economic damages represent intangible losses. These losses can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of consortium

Non-economic losses often require more evidence to prove. To know how much is pain and suffering worth, contact a personal injury lawyer at Joel Bieber Law Firm for a free consultation. 

Additionally, several factors contribute to the overall value of your medical malpractice claim, including:

  • The type of harm you suffered
  • The extent of your injury
  • The amount of time it will take for you to recover
  • How your injury will affect your ability to make a living
  • Whether medical treatment is needed in the future

A medical malpractice lawyer can thoroughly examine the details of your case to determine how much your case is worth. Once you understand the value of the damages you’re entitled to, you can pursue maximum financial recovery.

Proving the Necessary Four Medical Malpractice Elements


In a medical malpractice case, more often than not, you can expect the opposing party to put up a fight. For this reason, it’s critical to have qualified legal counsel to obtain the right evidence.

Evidence is vital in medical malpractice claims, especially when proving the four medical malpractice elements. Quality evidence usually includes:

  • Medical records
  • Doctor’s notes
  • Expert testimony from medical professionals

A medical malpractice lawyer from The Joel Bieber Firm will not rest until every piece of pertinent evidence is uncovered. When you have an attorney on your side, you can feel confident knowing they will work tirelessly to reach the most favorable outcome on your behalf. There are some factors that can affect your settlement value also.

Consult with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer at The Joel Bieber Firm


Often, the thought of pursuing a medical malpractice claim may seem daunting. But you do not have to deal with the results of medical malpractice alone. The skilled legal team at The Joel Bieber Firm is ready to take on your case and fight aggressively for your rights to fair compensation.

If you’ve suffered harm at the hands of a medical provider, contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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