Medical malpractice is negligence – it is negligence by a person in the medical field. The term “medical malpractice” is the term we use to describe negligence after a preventable medical error occurs. Medical mistakes are a major problem in this country, and it is crucial to understand how negligence plays a role in these claims and whether or not individuals can recover compensation if they have been the victim of a medical error.

What are Examples of Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence can occur in a wide variety of ways in California and throughout the US. Some of the most common examples of medical malpractice claims that arise include the following types of cases:

  • A failure to diagnose
  • A misdiagnosis
  • Prescribing the wrong medication 
  • Administering the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
  • Disregarding or failing to consider a patient’s medical history
  • Failing to order proper tests
  • Failing to follow up with a patient
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia mistakes
  • Failing to follow patient fall protocols in a medical setting

The Elements Needed to Prove Medical Negligence

There are four basic elements needed to prove a medical malpractice claim in California. If any of these four elements is not present, it is unlikely that a claim will be successful:

  1. Duty. It must be shown that there was a duty of care established between the medical professional and the medical mistake victim. This is often referred to as the doctor-patient relationship. When a doctor-patient relationship is established (or a relationship between any patient and any medical professional), it is imperative for the medical professional to treat the patient with an adequate “standard of care.” 
  2. Breach. After establishing that there was a doctor-patient relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff, it must be shown that the medical professional somehow breached their duty of care. This will mean that they deviated from the medical standard of care deemed as acceptable. The medical standard of care is usually defined as the type and level of care that a reasonably competent and skilled medical professional with a similar background and in a similar medical community would have provided under the circumstances. If it appears that a medical professional deviated from the standard of care, which will be examined by speaking with other medical professionals, then they may have breached their duty.
  3. Causation. After establishing that a breach of duty did indeed occur, it will need to be shown that the medical professional’s negligence directly caused the patient’s injury or illness.
  4. Damages. Finally, it must be shown that the patient suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of the medical negligence. This can include medical costs needed to fix the mistake, lost wages if a person cannot work, loss of quality of life damages, and more. 

Medical malpractice claims are incredibly difficult to pursue. It is crucial to work with a skilled medical malpractice attorney in Los Angeles who has the experience necessary to handle every aspect of the claim. Dr. Fagel is a doctor and a lawyer, and he has the resources necessary to fully investigate every aspect of the incident and help recover the compensation his clients need.