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How does the law define medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

Things may not turn out as expected in medical treatments. The human body is so complex, and one person’s body can act so differently in a situation than another’s that it would be unrealistic to expect guaranteed results.

So, it’s no surprise that a different outcome to the one you hoped for won’t necessarily constitute medical malpractice. Doctors would be in court all the time if it did.

Here is what you must prove to a court if you hope to convince them a particular incident constitutes medical malpractice:

The defendant had a duty of care toward you

Once a doctor decides to treat someone, it creates a doctor-patient relationship – and the doctor then owes that person a duty of care. That does not mean you can bring a claim against any medical staff in the vicinity at the time.

They deviated from that duty of care

What would be normal for a doctor to do in the circumstances? Often, there are several options a doctor might take, all of which may be acceptable. If, however, your doctor did something that hardly any other doctor in their position would have done, that may qualify as a deviation from their duty of care toward you.

You suffered harm as a direct result of their actions

There are two parts to this. First, you need to prove that you have suffered significant harm. For example, losing your sight rather than merely having to wear a patch over your eye for a few weeks.

Secondly, you must directly correlate your injury with the doctor’s actions. Them dropping a scalpel into your eye likely would count. You walking into something on your way out probably wouldn’t.

Courts are cautious when dealing with medical malpractice claims. Experienced legal guidance will increase your chances of success.