How to Prove a Medical Professional Breached the Duty of Care
When you have been injured by the wrongful act of another person, you generally have the right to seek compensation for your losses—lost wages and income, unreimbursed medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. As a practical matter, such legal claims usually allege negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that the person who caused the accident “breached the standard of care” expected by society.
In most negligence claims, the standard of care is based on what an ordinary person of average prudence would do, given the same circumstances. If the defendant failed to act as a reasonable person would have, he or she may be found negligent.
A different standard applies, however, when a medical professional is alleged to have caused the injuries. Because of the specialized training doctors receive, and the nature of their trade, physicians generally are held to a higher and more specific standard than laypersons.
To show that a medical professional breached the standard of care, you must show that his or her conduct did not rise to the level of what a reasonably competent and skilled professional, with similar training and experience, would have done under the same circumstances in the same geographic area where the doctor practices.
The jury determines whether or not the doctor’s conduct constituted negligence. That determination, however, often is based on expert testimony from medical practitioners.
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