What Is A Doctor’s Duty Of Care?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on March 11, 2021
Doctors hold certain legal responsibilities when providing care to their patients. Specifically, these medical professionals must uphold a duty to provide patients with an appropriate level of care for their medical conditions. Unfortunately, not all doctors uphold this standard, known as the duty of care, and cause harm to their patients. If you suffer an injury after a doctor deviates from this duty of care, he or she may be liable for your damages.
What Is the Medical Standard of Care?
In the medical field, the medical standard of care refers to a set of standard practices that competent medical professionals would take under certain circumstances. If a medical professional fails to act in a way that a similarly trained and reasonably prudent doctor would not have, you may have grounds for a claim.
Doctors’ duties to patients include, but are not limited to, the following.
- Order the appropriate diagnostic tests
- Disclose information about a diagnosis in a timely fashion
- Disclose the risks and side effects of any prescription drugs
- Refer you to a specialist if you require specialized care
- Perform a basic medical exam based on the symptoms you experience
- Disclose the different treatment options available to you
- Provide adequate supervision to nurses and other members of your medical team
How Do You Prove Duty of Care?
If you are filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, one of the first steps toward proving your claim is to establish duty of care. Your attorney will need to prove that your doctor had a legal responsibility to provide you with a certain level of treatment. He or she will establish this by using your medical records to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the malpractice.
Doctors only owe duties of care to patients they treat in a professional capacity, such as at a hospital or clinic. You cannot file a lawsuit if this legal relationship does not exist. For example, if you ask a doctor friend for medical advice over the phone, you will not have grounds to file a claim against him or her. In this situation, he or she does not owe a duty of care to you.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Missouri
Medical malpractice can cause a worsening illness or severe injury, leading to additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, you could recover compensation for your losses through a medical malpractice lawsuit. To prove your claim, you will need to prove four key facts.
- Your doctor owed a duty of care to you.
- Your doctor breached the duty of care.
- You suffered injuries due to the breach of care.
- You can collect damages in your lawsuit.
Before you file your claim, you will need to obtain an Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider from a medical expert in your doctor’s field. This document attests to the fact that the doctor involved in your case deviated from the standard of care and provides insight on how medical professionals would normally act within the context of your case.
These claims can be complex to prove, but with the help of a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney, you can bring a compelling case to the courtroom. Your attorney can enlist the help of expert witnesses, gather evidence, and calculate the extent of your losses so that you can secure the compensation you need. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible following the malpractice to discuss your legal options.