Medical malpractice is a very broad category of personal injury law. It encompasses essentially anything and everything that can go wrong from being treated by a doctor or a member of a hospital staff. This can include misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, medication errors( pharmacy malpractice ), surgical errors, and birth injuries, among others.
In almost all cases, medical malpractice claims boil down to negligence. To prevail on a claim of negligence, the plaintiff must show a duty owed to him or her by the defendant, a breach of that duty, causation, and damages. Let’s take a look at the elements of negligence as they are applied to a medical malpractice claim.
- Duty: This element is very important in a medical malpractice claim. A healthcare professional owes the patient the duty to act reasonably and appropriately, exercising care that conforms to the duty of care of a reasonably competent doctor in the specialty. This is not the standard duty of care of an ordinary, reasonably prudent person. Due to the fiduciary nature of the doctor-patient relationship, a doctor’s duty of care is elevated to that of a reasonably competent physician.
- Breach: When a medical professional breaches the duty he or she owes to a patient, it means that his or her conduct has fallen below that expected of a reasonably competent physician. This breach can occur in many ways, but the most common include those outlined above–misdiagnosis, harmful reactions to medications, and surgical errors.
- Causation: The element of causation requires that the breach be the actual and proximate cause of the patient’s harm. This simply means that the patient’s harm would not have occurred but for the medical professional’s breach.
- Damages: “Damages” in medical malpractice parlance refers to the extent of the harm that the patient experienced because of the medical professional’s mistake. This harm can take many forms and can be either physical or financial.
Contact a New York City Medical Malpractice Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you’ve suffered an injury at the hands of your doctor or any other medical professional and believe you may have a claim, you should speak to an attorney immediately. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call The Rybak Firm, PLLC., today at 718-307-5554 or contact us online.