When you go to the doctor, you expect to be treated to the highest standard and to get better rather than worse. If you believe you suffered because of your doctor’s actions, you may have a malpractice claim. As a personal injury lawyer clients rely on at Hayhurst Law, PLLC explains, here are the four D’s to remember when it comes to medical malpractice.


When you are in a doctor-patient relationship, your doctor has to care for you. He or she should behave to the standard that other doctors abide by. For a medical professional to have a duty to you, he or she has to be in a professional relationship with you. An example that doesn’t constitute duty or malpractice will be if a friend who is also a doctor provides you with bad medical advice. Even if you suffer damages because of the direction, he or she may not be liable. This would be the same as getting bad medical advice from any person, regardless of profession.


Dereliction includes the breach of duty. In the medical field, nothing is guaranteed. Some illnesses do present like other, more rare conditions and sometimes medicine does not work as planned. You could not claim medical malpractice if the doctor behaved up to the standards of his or her profession. Was he or she competent in the diagnosis and the medical treatment the doctor prescribed? If a reasonable doctor would have made different choices that would have helped, then your doctor may have acted negligently.


Next, there have to be damages involved to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If there are no damages, then you do not have a case. For example, if you go to the doctor complaining of a headache and the doctor diagnoses you with a migraine but you have a sinus infection that clears up on its own, you cannot sue for malpractice. He or she did not cause you any damages. You need to suffer injuries. For example, if you had a sinus infection that worsened and you wound up hospitalized or requiring extensive treatment that could have been avoided, your doctor may be at fault. 

Direct Cause

The last part of a malpractice lawsuit is the direct cause. Did your doctor cause the damages? For example, if you were treated to the standard of medical professionals, would you have had a different outcome? If your problem is unrelated to the mistake, you cannot file a lawsuit. When it comes to medical malpractice, it can be challenging to prove your case. Before you file your claim, consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to help build your case.