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The 4 Elements of Medical Negligence According to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Written by Cooper and Friedman on January 3, 2018

medical malpracticeMedical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to perform their job to the best of their abilities and causes harm. Most of the time, medical negligence can be used as a synonym for medical malpractice. However, in legal terms, medical negligence is a property of medical malpractice. In fact, medical negligence is often the “hinge” on which the medical malpractice lawsuit swings.

By definition, medical negligence is “an act or omission by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care”. In layman’s terms this means that negligence alone doesn’t hold enough ground for a legal case. When negligence becomes the cause of an injury to or death of a patient then there are often legal grounds for a medical malpractice case to be opened.

If you are considering opening a medical malpractice case, it is important that you know about medical negligence. If your medical malpractice case does not incorporate the four elements of medical negligence then you may not be in the best position going into your case. However, if your injury, or death, is caused by a medical professional’s failure to provide timely and reasonable medical care then a medical malpractice case could be your best option for receiving compensation.

Medical Negligence: 4 Key Elements


As soon as a doctor and patient establish a confidential relationship, the doctor has a responsibility to provide the most logical treatment plan possible. This is the element of duty. In medical negligence cases, doctors often overlook more effective approaches to healing or reject newer methods of treatments.


When every doctor graduates from medical school, they promise to practice the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath states that doctors will fulfill their duty to provide the best treatment possible to their patients. When a doctor fails to fulfill their duty, they breach their contract. This is the medical negligence element of breach. In order for a doctor to breach their contract, they must fail to perform their duty.


Injury is the third element needed in a medical malpractice case to make it viable in court. This is often called “causation” in the legal world. Injury, or causation, refers to the actual harm caused to a patient by a doctor. In order for injury to occur in the realm of medical malpractice, it must fall under two components: actual cause and proximate cause. In other words, the harm must be a direct result of a doctor who has failed in their duty to provide medical care and therefore breached their contract and the injury must be a result of that failure.


The fourth, and final, element of medical negligence involves damages. Damages are monetary compensation for the harm caused by a doctor’s negligence. In order for a medical malpractice case to stand up in court, the injury or harm caused must be able to be remedied by money. For example, someone who has missed work can be monetarily compensated in court for that time missed.

In order for a malpractice case to stand a chance in court, it needs all four elements of medical negligence. Learning the four elements of negligence in relation to the medical field is a good place to start. However, if you are considering opening a medical malpractice case against a doctor or hospital, seek legal assistance. Medical malpractice is a tricky section of the law. You’re more likely to win your case with the help of a studied law firm.

If you feel that you have been a victim of medical malpractice and are looking for further information, contact the Law Office of Cooper & Friedman today. We have over 45 years of combined experience defending medical malpractice victims across the Ohio Valley. Currently, we’reare accepting new cases. Call us today at 502-459-7555 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation.

Posted Under: Medical Malpractice

Contact Cooper & Friedman Attorneys At Law today at 502-459-7555 to schedule a free initial consultation