Medical malpractice (also known as medical negligence) is a type professional negligence committed by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient.
A plantiff must establish four elements of the tort of negligence for a successful medical malpratice claim:
- A duty was owed: a legal duty exists whenever a hospital or health care provider undertakes care or treatment of a patient.
- A duty was breached: the provider failed to conform to the standard of care.
- The breach caused the injury: the breach of duty was a direct cause and the proximate cause of injury.
- Damage: Without damage, there is no basis for a claim, regardless of whether the medical provider was negligent. Likewise, damage can occur without negligence, for example, when someone dies from a fatal disease.