question.jpgIn Personal Injury Law

What is medical malpractice?

In the most basic terms, medical malpractice is a physician’s deviation from the applicable standard of care that a similar physician would exercise under the same circumstances. Proving medical malpractice almost always requires the testimony of an expert witness in the same field of practice as the alleged negligent health care worker was at the time of the incident. In a typical medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must prove three elements: 1) Breach of the standard of care - a mistake which a reasonable and prudent doctor would not have made under the same circumstances; 2) causation - proof that the injury would not have occurred or would not have been as serious but for the doctor’s mistake; and 3) damages, in the form of lost wages, medical bills, agony, mental suffering, or death.

It is important to note, however, that if an injury results from the doctor following the standard of care in your area, then a medical malpractice suit will not succeed. Furthermore, the burden of proving medical malpractice lies on the plaintiff. Also noteworthy: through the doctrine of vicarious liability, claims can also be brought against the hospital, nurses, or other health care professionals involved in the negligence.