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Qualifying factors for medical malpractice

Medical malpractice claims have dropped in recent years. According to recent reports, the total number of malpractice cases as well as overall payments for these cases dropped significantly between 2003 and 2015. 

It is important for people to seek damages when they believe a doctor has injured them. However, a certain surgery or diagnosis may not be ideal, but it does not necessarily mean malpractice has occurred. There are certain factors that need to be present for an attorney to take on a case.

Existence of doctor-patient relationship

A patient needs to choose a doctor, and the doctor needs to accept the work. A working relationship does not exist if the doctor gave medical advice to another patient and the other person simply overheard it. 


Receiving a bad diagnosis does not mean suing the doctor is appropriate. Negligence means the doctor intentionally or unintentionally did something a competent medical professional would not have done. For example, if a negligent doctor performed something wrong during a surgery, then that could be grounds for a lawsuit. The reasoning would be that a competent doctor would not have made any mistake during surgery. 

Negligence led to injury

Another aspect is whether the negligence itself led to injury or if the person would have suffered injuries regardless. For instance, a person could enter a hospital after a car crash. A doctor can do everything possible to help through surgery, but the person sustains serious brain trauma. The doctor's actions would have needed to cause the brain trauma, but a court would likely view the trauma as related to the initial collision. 

Injury led to specific harm

A doctor may not be the best in the world, but unless the negligence caused further harm unrelated to any accidents or illnesses, then a person should not sue the doctor. This means negligence needs to lead to lost earning capacity, physical pain or extra medical bills.

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