Factors Involved in Breach of Duty of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases
Posted in Medical Malpractice on October 12, 2020
Medical malpractice occurs far too often in Kansas City healthcare facilities. When a doctor, nurse, or other professional acts carelessly when treating a patient, serious injuries can arise — and the patient may hold the professional liable for his or her injuries through a civil lawsuit.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, you will need to prove a series of facts to secure a settlement. One of the most important elements is the breach of duty of care, which establishes that the medical professional acted in a negligent manner.
Establishing Medical Negligence
Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare professional fails to uphold the medical standard of care and causes harm to a patient. To secure a settlement in a medical malpractice claim, you will need to establish four important elements.
- Duty: A doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the negligent act.
- Breach of duty: The doctor breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or omission.
- Causation: The breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered physical, financial, and emotional losses due to the at-fault professional’s negligence.
To prove these elements, you and your attorney will need to conduct a thorough investigation of the negligent act. You will need to gather important evidence, such as medical records and discharge papers, as well as testimony from expert witnesses who can validate your claims. All of these factors must prove that the medical professional committed an act of negligence.
How to Prove Breach of Duty
Medical professionals must take an oath to cure patients and not cause further harm. If a professional harms a patient through a negligent act or omission, he or she may be liable for medical malpractice. A number of actions may fall under the definition of medical malpractice, including the following.
- Failure to prescribe the correct medication
- Failure to obtain informed consent before a procedure
- Prescribing the wrong dosage of a medication
- Administering the wrong dosage of anesthesia
- Failure to monitor vital signs during labor and delivery
- The use of unsafe birthing techniques
All of these events may occur due to a medical professional’s failure to uphold the standard of medical care. To establish breach of duty in your case, you will need to show that the treatment you received fell below this accepted standard of care. This will require speaking to a similarly trained professional to validate your claims.
Your medical malpractice attorney will have access to medical experts who can provide testimony in your lawsuit. The expert will examine the facts of your case and provide insight into how a reasonable and prudent medical professional would have acted under the same circumstances. If he or she believes that the at-fault party’s actions are consistent with negligence, you can use this testimony in your claim. If you are filing your lawsuit in Missouri civil court, you can also use this professional to complete the required affidavit by a health care provider certifying the merit of your case.
In addition to expert testimony, your lawyer will also ask you a number of questions about the negligent act. When speaking with your attorney, describe exactly what happened on the day of the negligence, the injuries you sustained, and the existing doctor-patient relationship. It may be helpful to keep a written record, such as a daily journal, to ensure you remember all of the details of your case. If you have not done so already, contact your attorney to schedule an appointment to discuss your claim.