The basics of a medical malpractice claim

Each year, thousands of Americans are injured or subjected to a worsened medical condition due to medical malpractice committed by doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Massachusetts is not immune to these occurrences. When medical malpractice occurs, Massachusetts residents need to know the steps necessary to pursue legal action in hopes of recovering compensation for their damages.

First, it is important to understand the “elements” of a medical malpractice claim. The first element is that a “duty” must have existed between the healthcare professional and the patient. This can be a fairly easy step, as it is usually quite obvious when a doctor-patient relationship exists, although sometimes this can be a tricky step to establish. Healthcare professionals owe their patients a duty to care that is competent to the treatment being rendered.

Next, victims must prove that a “breach” of the duty of care occurred. These means that the healthcare professional, while knowing their duty, either negligently, recklessly, or willingly breached that duty. If this element is proven, it can be significant to the overall outcome of case, as this is often the element that is the most contentious. However, a medical malpractice claim does not end there. Victims must also prove that the breach of the duty is what caused their injury or worsened medical condition, and that they suffered actual damages that can be compensated.

Medical malpractice cases are notoriously difficult to pursue. These cases can often take many months to bring to a conclusion and can include various types of expert witnesses. But, with the right approach and knowing the basics of a case, Massachusetts residents can move to hold negligent healthcare professionals accountable for their malpractice and, in turn, recover the compensation they deserve


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