Medical negligence is defined as the negligent, improper, or unskilled treatment of a patient by a health care professional. This can include negligent care from a nurse, physician, surgeon, pharmacist, dentist or other health care workers. Medical negligence forms the basis for most medical malpractice claims where the victim is claiming injury from medical treatment. 

Examples of medical negligence include: improper administration of medicines; performing the wrong or inappropriate type of surgery; giving improper medical advice; or leaving foreign objects in the patient’s body (such as a sponge or bandage after surgery).

What Is Required to Prove Medical Negligence?

Proving medical negligence is similar to most other forms of negligence.  Generally, the plaintiff needs to prove four elements:

  1. The medical personnel owed them a duty of care.
  2. The duty of care was breached or violated.
  3. The breach was the cause of the person’s injuries or losses.
  4. The losses can be calculated with certainty.

In most medical negligence claims, there can be issues in attempting to define “duty of care.” In most cases, the medical professional is expected to exercise the same standard of care that a professional with similar training and background would use in a similar situation.

This means that nurses may be held to a different standard of care from a surgeon, since they have received very different forms of training. Also, surgeons may be held to different standards of care as surgeons who practice in a different field. While this may seem confusing, standards for medical care are somewhat consistent and can be defined from both medical textbooks as well as industry standards.

What Are Some Remedies for Medical Negligence?

In the majority of medical negligence claims, the legal remedy consists of a monetary damages award paid from the medical company or professional to the plaintiff. This can cover medical expenses, extra hospital costs, and additional medicines. 

One should note that in some states, the amount of damages that the plaintiff can recover can sometimes be limited in a medical malpractice or medical negligence claim. Limits on medical malpractice awards were instituted in order to prevent frivolous claims and requests for unreasonable damage award amounts.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence can sometimes involve very serious injuries or violations. If you need assistance with a medical negligence case, you may wish to contact an attorney right away. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help advise you on your claim, and can assist you in filing with the court. Most medical negligence violations are remedied by monetary damages awards to compensate the victim for their injuries.