If you are considering filing a medical malpractice case, you might have heard the term, “breach of the standard of care.” What does this term mean? More importantly, what are its legal implications? You should always hire an attorney to represent you if you are hoping to file a medical malpractice case. However, even though you will have an attorney, you should still have an understanding of what is happening in your case. This guide will explain what this term means and how it is applied to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Breach of the Standard of Care
The breach of the standard of care refers to how a physician treats his or her patient. Every physician has a responsibility to protect and treat their patients. This duty is called the standard of care. Essentially, it is the level of care that a reasonable person would expect from a physician. If a physician provides care that is below this level, then the physician has breached the standard of care.
So what does this mean in the context of a medical malpractice lawsuit? Well, the breach of the standard of care is actually the first two components of medical negligence. The first component is called “duty,” which for medical professionals is the same as the standard of care. The second component is “breach,” which is a failure to fulfill the duty. There are four components total, and all four need to be proven for the plaintiff to win the case. The final two components are called “causation” and “damage.”
Causation and Damage
The components of causation and damage are actually closely linked. The former refers to whether or not the breach of duty caused an injury and the latter refers to the injury itself. For a medical malpractice case to be valid, the breach of the standard of care must be the cause of the injury. This may sound straightforward, but it is surprising how often this is not the case. Sometimes a physician genuinely failed to meet the standard of care, but it does not result in injury. In this case, the physician would not be held liable.
Alternatively, it may be the case that the breach of the standard of care is coincidental to the injury. If the injury would have happened even if the physician had provided the best care possible, then, once again, the physician cannot be held liable. If you have any other questions, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney.
Thanks to our friends from Cohen & Cohen for their insight into medical malpractice lawsuits.