The following basic elements must be present before an incident may be considered to be a potentially viable medical malpractice case:
This element is practically a given; by accepting a patient, the medical provider automatically agrees to a duty of care. The term "medical provider" includes not only physicians but also dentists, nurses, anesthesiologists, therapists, etc.
2. The duty of care is breached.
The medical provider breaches his or her duty to the patient by not exercising reasonable care. The measure by which this is determined is by comparing the actions of the medical provider with how any other reasonably prudent medical provider would act under the same or similar circumstances. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to determine whether the duty of care has been breached in a preliminary analysis of medical records. In a medical malpractice case, expert testimony and more thorough investigation is required to support the claim.
3. The breach causes injury.
Medical malpractice cases primarily surround permanent physical damage (i.e. death or paralysis), but may also include temporary injury and emotional injury.
4. Damages exist as a direct result of the breach.
Legal damages exist when a victim can be financially compensated for his or her loss. Damages are calculated taking into account all medical bills, the severity of the injury, permanency of the injury, future medical care costs, loss of future income, etc.
Knowing the basic elements of a medical malpractice case is important to being an informed patient. Insurance companies will attempt to communicate with the injured party directly, and settle quickly before he or she reaches out to an attorney. Having an experienced attorney representing the victim's interest can significantly increase the final monetary award as a result of more thorough investigation and quality representation.
If you suspect you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, call (773) 376-9800 or fill out an online request for a free consultation.
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Written by DMM at the Law Offices of Hugo A. Ortiz.
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