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What elements must be present to prove doctor negligence?

We must place a great deal of trust in the doctors who are tasked with seeing to our health and well-being. Fortunately, most of the time this trust is well founded and we receive the care we need. However, there is always a chance that a doctor may not provide a patient with proper care.

If a patient is harmed due to a doctor’s improper care, they may need to prove negligence when filing a medical malpractice suit. So how can a plaintiff demonstrate negligence? Negligence is established by the following criteria:

  • That the patient did incur an injury.
  • That the doctor failed to carry out his or her duties with an appropriate applicable standard of care. A deviation from an established standard violates the duty to which the patient is owed.
  • That the deviation from the established standard had a causal relationship to the injury incurred by the patient.
  • That there was a doctor/patient relationship and that as such the doctor had an obligation to properly care for the patient.

Clearly, one of the key elements in establishing negligence is demonstrating that the doctor’s conduct did not rise to what is generally considered an acceptable level of medical care. A plaintiff must call on a medical expert to testify as to what constitutes an acceptable level of care. The expert must be from the same field of medical practice as the defendant and have a solid reputation among those in that field regarding competency and qualifications to practice.

The plaintiff will utilize the expert’s testimony to attest to what is considered an acceptable level of care and to demonstrate how the doctor in question did not meet that level.

Medical malpractice suits can be very complicated and require investigation and research to properly prepare. If you believe you or a family member has been victimized by a doctor’s negligence, a Montana medical malpractice attorney may be able to help establish the criteria necessary to put together a viable lawsuit.

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