What Constitutes a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Updated December 27, 2023.

When we seek medical treatment, we place immense trust in healthcare professionals to provide a high standard of care. Unfortunately, these professionals will sometimes fail to provide the level of care we expect. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical professional, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned Rochester medical malpractice lawyer from our firm to learn more. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Is Medical Malpractice?

At its core, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse, deviates from the accepted standard of care, leading to injury or harm to a patient. It’s essential to understand that not every undesirable outcome during medical treatment reaches the threshold of malpractice. For a claim to stand in court, there must be a departure or deviation from the standard of care and a direct link to the patient’s injury.

How Do You Prove Negligence in Medical Malpractice?

To successfully claim medical malpractice, the following elements must be established:

  • Duty of Care: It must be established that the healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient. This is typically straightforward, as professionals inherently owe a duty to their patients once they begin treatment.
  • Breach of Duty: The patient (or their legal representation) must demonstrate that the provider did not adhere to the accepted standard of care relevant to their specific medical situation.
  • Causation: This is often the most contentious point. There must be a direct link between the provider’s negligence and the patient’s injury. It’s not enough to show that negligence occurred; it must be proven that this negligence directly caused harm.
  • Damages: The injury led to specific damages, be it physical, emotional, financial, or a combination thereof. These can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Are There Different Types of Medical Malpractice Claims?

Yes, medical malpractice can manifest in various forms, including the following:

  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: When a doctor fails to correctly diagnose a patient in a timely manner, which results in delayed or incorrect treatment.
  • Surgical Errors: Mistakes made during surgery, like operating on the wrong site or leaving surgical instruments inside the patient.
  • Medication Errors: Prescribing or administering the wrong dosage or incorrect medication.
  • Birth Injuries: Injuries to the child or mother due to negligence during prenatal care or childbirth.
  • Failure to Obtain Informed Consent: Not informing the patient about potential risks, benefits, and alternatives to a procedure or treatment.

These are just a few examples, and each case is unique. Therefore, it’s essential for individuals who suspect they’ve been victims of medical malpractice to consult experienced attorneys like those at Lacy Katzen, LLP, to navigate the intricate details and advocate for their rights.


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