What is the “Standard of Care” in Medical Malpractice Law?

In medical malpractice cases, attorneys often rely on the principle of the “standard of care” or “duty of care” to establish their case. The “standard of care” is a concept that establishes every person’s responsibility to keep others safe, or in medical malpractice law, a medical professional’s responsibility to their patients. Essentially, doctors, nurses, therapists, and others have a professional and legal responsibility to provide their patients with the best treatment and care that they possibly can. When medical professionals fail to meet the standard of care, they may be held liable for medical malpractice.

How the Standard of Care Applies in Medical Malpractice Cases

Attorneys use the standard of care as a barometer for what is and is not acceptable behavior when a doctor treats a patient. By identifying these violations of the standard of care, lawyers can determine how a patient was failed in their treatment, how their injuries occurred, and who is liable for the damages. By using the standard of care, attorneys can also identify violations that may not be as outright as more obvious examples of inadequate medical care.

Identifying Violations of the Standard of Care

Some violations of the standard of care are obvious. For example, if there is evidence that a doctor was aware of the proper treatment of a patient but failed to administer that treatment due to a lack of effort or a desire to conserve resources. Other instances of inadequate medical care may not be as obvious, but are still dangerous to patients. These cases can be identified with the standard of care in mind.

To determine if a patient’s injuries were caused by inadequate treatment, the following questions may be asked:

  • Was the patient properly diagnosed?
  • Did the doctor adhere to standard methods of care?
  • If a different method of treatment was used, is that method effective for treating the patient’s condition?
  • Did the doctor utilize all of the resources available to diagnose and treat the patient?

By asking these questions, a doctor’s shortcomings can be identified and their liability can be determined. Through this discovery, an injured patient can receive compensation for the financial distress, physical pain, and emotional suffering they have endured as a result of medical negligence.

Contact the Law Offices of David A. Kates, PLLC if you or a loved one was injured because of medical negligence. We can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

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