A hospital visit or trip to the doctor are things that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. Even the healthiest of individuals could be involved in an accident that results in injuries. Or, they may contract an illness that the immune system cannot fight off.
You visit a doctor or hospital to get better. Their job is to diagnose you accurately and provide a course of treatment that helps you. Usually, this is precisely what happens.
Sadly, there are occasions when medical practitioners get it wrong. But when does a medical error count as malpractice? Outlined below are four key elements that must be established.
1. A legal duty of care
A medical facility owes you a legal duty of care from the moment your treatment begins. When your doctor examines you, they have a duty to diagnose you accurately without undue delay or error.
At all times, doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners must act to a reasonable standard. This means that they must not make errors that another person in the same role wouldn’t be expected to make.
2. A breach of that duty
For a medical malpractice case to stand, it must be proven that the individual or medical institution breached the duty of care owed to you.
3. There must be causation
If your condition declines due to an issue unrelated to the treatment you have received, then the medical facility cannot be held liable. However, if inappropriate treatment or an omission directly caused your condition to deteriorate, then causation is present.
4. Quantifiable damages
If a mistake was made but it did not cause you any harm, then the four elements of medical malpractice are not satisfied. The medical error must have resulted in quantifiable damages, such as the deterioration of your physical or mental well-being.
Medical malpractice cases can be complex but facilities do owe you a duty of care. If you feel that your doctor has let you down, be sure to look into your legal options.