We trust doctors to help us feel better when we’re sick or injured. For the most part, doctors follow accepted medical industry standards and can help recover.
But sometimes medical professionals deviate from the accepted standard of care and cause injury to a patient. In California, medical mistakes are a common occurrence and they can lead to serious injuries. In the worst case, medical negligence can even lead to wrongful death.
If you or a loved one has been injured at the hospital because of medical malpractice, you have the right to file a hospital injury claim. But first, it’s important to understand the elements of medical malpractice.
Definition of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is defined as a medical professional’s negligent act or deviation from the accepted medical standard practice. In other words, medical malpractice happens when a healthcare professional’s negligent act (or omission of an act) causes injury to a patient.
4 Elements of Medical Malpractice
Commonly referred to as the four D’s, the four required elements of medical malpractice claims include:
The first element of medical malpractice is duty. To establish this element, a patient must prove the existence of a valid doctor-patient relationship and that a duty of care exists. Medical professionals have a responsibility to listen to and respect patient requests. If the medical professional feels that they are unable to provide proper care, they should refer the patient to another medical professional. Failure to do so can be considered a breach of care of duty.
The second element of medical malpractice is deviation. Doctors and healthcare professionals are held to a higher standard of care compared to those without a medical license. Thus, if a medical professional deviate from the accepted industry standard of care, they could be held liable for medical malpractice.
The third element of medical malpractice is direct cause. A patient must show that the medical professional’s deviation from the industry accepted standard directly caused his or her injury. For example, a patient’s broken arm didn’t heal properly because the doctor did not follow medical industry standards. In this case, there is a direct cause between the doctor and the patient’s injury.
Damages are the fourth and final element of medical malpractice. A patient must prove that the medical professional’s deviation from industry standards resulted in damages. Damages don’t necessarily have to be financial. Nonfinancial losses such as mental or emotional distress as a result of the injury or illness also apply.
If you’ve sustained damages as a result of your hospital injury, you could receive compensation for general and special (or economic) damages. General damages include non-tangible losses such as pain and suffering or a diminished quality of life. Special damages include quantifiable losses such as lost wages, medical bills, or diminished future earning capacity.
Consult with a Hospital Injury Claims Attorney Today
If you were injured as a result of a hospital employee’s negligence, you should contact a hospital injury claim attorney today. Our experienced lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and compassion to help you obtain the justice you deserve. Contact Mesriani Law Group today to see how we can help you with your possible case.