Determining Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Claims

Determining the standard of care in medical malpractice claims can be complicated. While it’s required to establish this standard to prove a doctor or medical professional committed malpractice, many victims are often confused as to how it plays into the overall claim and how it is determined.

If you’re considering filing a claim for malpractice, contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates to speak to a medical negligence attorney on Long Island. We’ll help you understand standard of care in medical malpractice and help you file your claim.

How Standard of Care Plays into Malpractice Claims

In order to establish that medical malpractice occurred, you must prove four elements:

  • Duty – There was an established relationship between the doctor and the patient in which the doctor owed a duty to care for the patient’s health;
  • Breach of Duty – The doctor failed to act according to his duty and performed outside the expected standard or level of care;
  • Causation – The breach of duty caused injury or harm to the patient; and
  • Damages – The patient experienced damages resulting from the injury or harm. 

In order to prove the second element, a breach of duty, you first must establish the expected standard of care for the particular situation. Standard of care, in medical malpractice situations, is the key to proving negligence. When you establish this standard, you’re establishing how a reasonable medical professional would have performed and responded in a similar situation, given the details surrounding the patient’s condition and symptoms. If the doctor in question did not act per this expected standard of care, medical malpractice may be proven and the victim may be due compensation.

Reasonable Standard of Care & Filing a Claim

This is usually determined with the help of an expert witness. If you’re filing for malpractice, your medical negligence attorney in Long Island will line up an expert medical witness, usually a doctor in the same field as the one who treated you, to attest to reasonable care in your situation. The witness typically will explain the details of your condition and how he or she would have responded to your symptoms and signs if put in a similar situation. If this differs from how your doctor performed, you may be able prove medical malpractice.

Keep in mind that a deviation from this standard is not enough to warrant filing a claim for medical malpractice. You must have experienced injury resulting from the negligence, but even that may not be enough to warrant a claim. Damages must be present such as medical bills, lost income, and more. Negligence that causes injuries such as minor bruising may not warrant a claim if no damages – like further medical bills – are present. The negligence must cause injuries that led to further expenses or loss.

Legal Representation in a Medical Negligence Case

Medical malpractice claims are highly complicated. If you or a loved one was hurt by medical malpractice or negligence, speak to a medical negligence attorney in Long Island to discuss your claim. A lawyer can help you line up expert testimony to prove standard of care, medical malpractice and more. Your attorney can ensure you file within the set statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. In New York, the statute of limitations is just two and a half years from the date of your injury, so it’s important you act fast.

Were you or a loved one the victim or medical malpractice? According to the Court Statistics Project, in 2008, nearly 4,200 New York residents filed medical malpractice claims. Consider filing a claim to recoup your medical costs, treatment expenses and lost wages, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.  Call Gacovino, Lake and Associates at (800) 246-HURT (4878) to speak to a medical negligence attorney in Long Island about proving standard of care in a medical malpractice case.

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