As defined by the US government, medical malpractice is any omission or activities carried out during the course of treating a patient that fails to meet current healthcare standards and generates a patient-related injury. Medical malpractice laws encompass negligence and acts of malice caused by any doctor or healthcare service provider.

The four elements of medical malpractice are failing to provide a proper duty to the patient, a breach of care standards, the production of a patient injury, and the damages awarded to the patient because of these failures. 

How Did the Injuries Happen

The first obstacle when starting a medical malpractice case is to explain how the doctor injured the patient and how the injuries happened. In these cases, doctors could cause surgical errors, provide the wrong or inferior medication, fail to use updated testing options, or injured the patient via deliberate actions based on a personal belief or prejudice.

Doctors that provide a lower standard of care for personal beliefs or discriminatory actions could be guilty of an act of malice if their actions caused intentional injuries. Victims who are suing for medical malpractice must show how the doctor is liable for their injuries. 

Were the Patient’s Injuries a Disclosed Risk?

At any time that a patient is preparing to undergo a surgical procedure, the surgeon must disclose all risks to the patient and get the patient to sign forms showing that they were informed of all known risks.

If the injuries identified in the claim were a disclosed risk, this could change the patient’s ability to sue the doctor. The individual cannot sue a doctor for injuries that the surgeon told them could happen as a result of a procedure.  

Did the Doctor Have the Patient’s Consent?

By establishing a patient-doctor relationship, the next step is to get the patient’s consent to treat them and provide medications for the patient’s condition. All patients must sign consent forms before undergoing any surgical procedures.

The only exception is when the patient is incapacitated and cannot make medical decisions for themselves. Under these circumstances, the patient’s next of kin or healthcare proxy must make decisions for them. However, if a doctor or surgeon completes an unnecessary treatment, the individual or their family could file a lawsuit.  

How Did the Doctor Fail to Comply With Healthcare Standards?

An assessment of the doctor’s actions and the results from the treatment helps the attorney determine how the doctor failed to comply with healthcare standards. Doctors are restricted under federal laws from providing a lower standard of care to any patient for any reason. If these compliance failures lead to accidents and injuries, the individual can sue the doctor.  

What Damages Could the Claimant Receive?

The claimant could get economic damages for all financial losses they incurred because of their injuries. This includes the cost of seeking a second opinion from another doctor. In a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff may receive punitive damages as a way to punish the doctor.  

Medical malpractice happens when a doctor fails to provide a high standard of care and causes patient-related injuries. Under the circumstances, an attorney can get copies of all the patient’s medical records and get a medical witness to review the files and determine if there was a different course of treatment that wouldn’t cause the injuries. By reviewing details about medical malpractice, claimants learn where to get started.