The 4D’s of medical malpractice

You go into the hospital for an operation and are not happy with the results. Does this mean you can file a medical malpractice claim? Not necessarily.

If you wish to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are four things you need to prove for your claim to be successful. These, also known as the 4D’s:

  1. Damages: Harm needs to have been done, and you need to prove it. You will need to provide evidence such as medical records and assessments by qualified experts.
  2. Direct Cause: Your injuries need to be a direct result of the actions or inactions of the medical professional, and you need to prove this.
  3. Duty: The medical professional must have had a duty of care to you, such as in a client-patient relationship. Remember, in a hospital, various people could be considered to have a duty of care towards you; it is not restricted to people who treated you. For instance, you picked up a disease from lack of hygiene; someone had a duty to ensure the hospital was clean.
  4. Dereliction: There was a deviation from the expected standard of care by a medical professional of similar experience in a similar situation. If your doctor acted like most other doctors would have done in the same position, you are unlikely to have a case.

Bringing a lawsuit for medical malpractice will require patience on your part, as these lawsuits are rarely quick. If you suffered injuries while in the care of a medical professional, seek legal advice to ascertain if you have a realistic chance of winning a compensation claim.