Medical malpractice is when a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or other medical practitioner causes injury or harm by acting in a negligent manner. When mistakes are made and such negligence contributes to an injury, the victim may file a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault doctor or medical facility. A medical malpractice claim will only succeed in court if the basic elements of the case are proven.
The elements of any medical malpractice case include duty, breach, causation, and damages:
- Duty: Doctors are required under the law to provide a certain standard of care to patients. Therefore, you must prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship and that the doctor owed you a certain level of care.
- Breach: The next step is proving that the doctor failed to abide by the standard of care owed to you as a patient. You can prove that your doctor acted in a way that was unreasonable or harmful by getting other medical professionals to review your situation and confirm your concerns. This is important because simply suffering injury is not enough to win your case. You must show that your doctor acted in a manner in which a prudent doctor would not act.
- Causation: The third element of any medical malpractice case is proving that the doctor’s actions led to your harm. The court will review if the act of negligence directly resulted in illness or injury.
- Damages: The element of damages in a medical malpractice case refers to the harm that you have suffered. You must show not only that your doctor acted negligently, but also that his or her negligence caused you actual harm. The court will review what losses you have suffered directly due to the actions of your doctor. For example, if your doctor amputates the wrong body part, then, you have suffered significant, tangible damages that affect your quality of life.
If you have been the victim of medical negligence, it may be in your best interest to research your legal options. Financial support may be available for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related losses. An experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer will be able to provide you with more information about your legal rights and options.