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What Qualifies as Medical Negligence?

May 3, 2021 | Medical Malpractice


Medical negligence lawsuits require four essential elements. They are:

  1. The medical provider owed the patient a duty of care. This means that there was a provider-patient relationship.
  2. The provider breached their duty of care by taking the wrong action, misdiagnosing an ailment, or otherwise failing to meet the standard of care the industry sets.
  3. The provider’s breached duty of care directly caused the patient further medical decline or ongoing pain.
  4. The patient suffered damages as a result of the provider’s breached duty of care.

When you establish a provider-patient relationship, you’re trusting that the medical professional has the proper training and skills to treat you. When you don’t receive adequate care, it can be both costly and painful for you.

To have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, you and your attorney must establish medical negligence. Here’s what you need to know about medical negligence and medical malpractice lawsuits.

Standard of Care and Duty of Care?

The medical industry sets standards of care through various documentation, including journals, clinical trials, medical training, and more. When a medical professional does not meet that standard of care toward a patient that the industry sets, the doctor could be guilty of medical malpractice.

Duty of care is somewhat similar but applies even outside the medical field. This term refers to a person’s job to protect others from foreseeable harm as best they can.

Duty of care exists in a variety of personal injury cases ranging from premises liability to car accidents. Anytime a person is injured, an attorney will look to see who had a duty of care toward that individual to better understand who might be at fault.

Standard of care only applies in medical applications, whereas duty of care is a broader term covering a variety of injury scenarios.

Medical Malpractice vs. Medical Negligence

There is a difference between pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit and a medical negligence lawsuit.

In medical malpractice, the professional knowingly failed to provide the proper standard of care. In medical negligence, the doctor might have made a mistake, such as a misdiagnosis, that unintentionally harmed the patient or made them undergo more pain than they would ordinarily.

Patient Disclosure Requirements in a Medical Negligence Lawsuit

Patients must play an active role in their medical care. This means sharing relevant and necessary information with your provider. Patients who fail to disclose conditions, such as a bleeding disorder or medications they are taking, might contribute to their medical professional’s inability to care for the patient.

For example, if you fail to tell your medical professional about a bleeding disorder and undergo surgery, you could suffer severe consequences. The medical professional is acting in good faith that you’ve answered their questions truthfully.

If you suffer severe consequences for failing to disclose important information, you could be partially or entirely at fault for the damages you sustain. That’s why medical providers ask many questions before treating a patient.

If you believe you might have been the victim of medical negligence, you should schedule a free consultation with Stewart & Stewart. We’ll review your case details and provide an expert opinion on whether we can establish medical negligence.

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