Medical malpractice is a part of the law which is often forgotten by an ordinary citizen. That is, until a person has become a victim of this complex medical situation.

When a case goes to civil court, a jury will consider the preponderance of evidence to determine the medical provider’s guilt or innocence, and the amount of recovery owed to the plaintiff.

Duty of Care

The plaintiff has to prove that the medical provider (e.g. hospital, nursing home, doctor) had a duty of care in the relationship.  Typically, this relationship is easy to prove using admittance papers and similar documents.  They prove that the patient contracted with the provider for specific medical care.

If an independent contractor was involved, such as a doctor who was not an employee of the hospital but brought in to consult, it becomes harder to determine which provider owed the duty of care—in this case, the hospital or consulting doctor.

Once the responsible provider’s identified, the next step is to compare their care with the standard of care that should have been provided.  One way to do this is to compare it with the treatment a provider of equal skill and education would have provided in a similar situation.

Breach of Duty

After identifying the responsible provider, and the duty of care, the plaintiff must prove that the provider breached their duty of care.  Typically, showing how the provider deviated from their duty of care fulfills this requirement.

One way to prove that deviation is by introducing testimony from a medical professional.  By describing what a reasonable course of action would have been, they could show how the defendant deviated from reasonable medical standards.


The patient must prove that the provider’s breach of duty directly caused their injury.  Despite a breach of duty, causation can’t always be proven.  For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses a patient with a terminal disease, but the patient was suffering from a different—and also terminal—disease, they might not be able to prove their case.


This element demands that the patient suffered serious economic or other damages beyond inconvenience or dissatisfaction.  Examples include medical bills for treatment of the breach, lost wages and emotional suffering.

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If a medical professional is involved in a negligent treatment, this issue can be considered as a breach of duty,  and if a patient gets injured, he can file for a medical malpractice claim. An injured patient is entitled to a number of damages as well as on the compensation for lost wages. It’s recommended to get legal advice about any related problem on medical malpractice.

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