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What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a type of medical negligence committed by a health care professional or facility that directly results in damages or injuries suffered by an individual. This kind of offense is committed when health care professionals or facilities do not meet a certain set of standards when delivering their services. In order for an individual to file a case of medical malpractice and win, 4 elements must be proven: a legal duty was owed, that legal duty was breached due to failing to meet standards, the breach of the legal duty directly caused harm or injury, and damages were suffered by the individual making the claim.

The first element, a legal duty was owed, is to prove that the health care professional or facility was legally responsible for the individual. This is the case when a hospital or doctor undertakes a patient. The second element of a breach occurs when the health care professional or facility fails to meet standards as provided by evidence and testimonies. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur or the thing speaks for itself is evoked in the testimonies and evidence provided. The third element, a direct cause of injury, must prove a direct cause and effect relationship between the breach of the legal duty and the injuries of the individual. Lastly, the fourth element refers to the damages, which is essentially the basis of the individual making the claim. Damages may come in the form of monetary loss, or emotional, psychological, or physical damage.

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