What Are The Four Elements Of Medical Malpractice?

A lawyer can help you prove that a doctor breached his duty of care, causing you injury, to win a malpractice case.

According to Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, the four elements of medical malpractice include:

  1. The doctor or facility owed a professional duty of care
  2. There was a breach of duty
  3. The victim suffered injuries as a result of the negligence
  4. There were financial or intangible losses

In general, plaintiffs must prove they have evidence to show that the four elements of medical malpractice occurred in their case in order to recover compensation.

For a free legal consultation, call 631-451-7900

The Doctor or Facility Owed a Professional Duty of Care

In most cases, it is simple to prove that the doctor or facility in question owed you or your child a professional duty of care. This is assumed in any doctor-patient relationship, whether the doctor or care provider is:

  • An attending physician in the emergency department
  • An obstetrician monitoring a pregnancy and delivering a baby
  • A nurse practitioner who serves as the family’s primary care provider
  • A surgeon performing a procedure

There Was a Breach of that Duty

Perhaps the most difficult to prove of the four elements of medical malpractice is that there was a breach of the duty owed by the doctor or another medical professional. There are many ways this can occur, and it can be difficult or impossible to pinpoint how it happened without help from a medical expert.

Some examples of medical negligence that include a breach of duty include:

  • Misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis
  • Prescribing the wrong medicine
  • Giving the wrong medication or the wrong dose
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Leaving tools inside the body after surgery
  • Failing to recognize symptoms that could be serious
  • Failing to follow up with a significant health concern
  • Not ordering key lab tests

In general, this element of medical malpractice requires the victim to prove that the doctor did not provide an acceptable or expected standard of care based on their training and experience. You will likely need to have a medical expert analyze the relevant records and affirm that the doctor did something – or failed to do something – that another professional with the same training and experience would not have done.

The Victim Suffered Injuries as a Result of the Negligence

All medical malpractice cases must include an injury to the victim. This can be a new injury or illness, a worsening of their condition, or emotional harm, such as mental anguish.

The evidence to prove this element will come primarily from the victim’s medical records, medical expert testimony, and the victim’s own statements.

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There Were Financial and Intangible Losses

Before you can recover compensation for the injuries you or your loved one suffered due to medical malpractice, you must show the value of your case. If your family did not sustain losses as a result of the medical negligence, there are no compensatory damages to recover.

To prove your damages, you will need to gather your:

  • Medical bills
  • Evidence of lost wages and benefits
  • Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses
  • Documentation of other losses you experienced

An attorney from our firm can use the value of your economic damages to put a value on your non-economic damages as well. Then, they will demand a fair and just payout based on your total losses.

Building a Case for Compensation Based on Medical Negligence

If you believe that you, your newborn, or another loved one was a victim of medical malpractice on Long Island or elsewhere in the greater NYC area, you can speak with our medical malpractice law firm for free about your legal options. You may be able to hold the doctor or hospital accountable for your family’s damages.

However, there is only a limited time to take action, and affirming the four elements of medical malpractice can be time-consuming. Your attorney will need to obtain your medical records, call in a medical expert to analyze them, and gather other evidence to document your injuries and losses.

Generally, you only have up to two years and six months to file a medical malpractice suit in New York State, under CVP §214-A. However, there are exceptions to this rule. This includes a longer period in some cases involving children and the possibility of shorter deadlines when a government agency runs the facility or hospital or employs a doctor or nurse.

Get a Complimentary Case Review Today With our Team

You can speak with a member of the Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. team today for free. We want to discuss your medical malpractice case, including what happened, who might be responsible, and the lasting effects you endured as a result.

Dial (631) 994-1910 now to speak to a team member about your medical malpractice case. We can assist callers in Spanish as well.

Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P.  serves individuals and families in medical malpractice and birth injury claims in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We are a contingency fee firm.

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