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How Breach of Duty Applies to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

By Norman Younker on February 10, 2016


A stethoscope and a gavelVictims of medical negligence and mistakes can rely on the attorneys of Fabian VanCott, one of the leading law firms in Salt Lake City. Our team of medical malpractice attorneys can help you with the legal process, discussing your options and what choices are in the best interests of you and your loved ones.

The idea of "breach of duty" is important in medical malpractice cases. Let's take a moment to go over these matters in greater detail right now.

About Duty of Care and Standard of Care

Duty of care and standard of care are important concepts with regard to medical malpractice lawsuits. Let's consider each of these terms first.

A duty of care refers to the legal obligation that a person has when performing any sort of act that may result in the harm of others. This duty of care is related to the standard of care. The standard of care refers to the degree of caution that must be exercised by someone who is under a duty of care.

When it comes to medical issues, the standard of care is defined by a set of treatments or processes that a clinician should adhere to when it comes to the circumstances of a patient and the illness/condition that he or she is facing. In essence, it's about acting the way other doctors or medical professionals may act in a similar situation.

Defining "Breach of Duty"

Given the above, we can now discuss breach of duty.

A breach of duty essentially means a failure of the medical professional to fulfill his or her duty of care given the nature of a patient's health issues. This often means providing treatment or medical attention that is below the established standard of care.

Examples of Breach of Duty

Say that a patient visits his or her general practitioner complaining of abdominal pain. The patient undergoes an x-ray which shows an abnormality of some kind that goes untreated and undiagnosed. Given that the x-ray yielded an abnormal result and the doctor and radiologist failed to follow up on this, that would be a breach of duty since an abnormal finding would typically cause medical professionals to explore the matter further.

Similarly, say that a patient visits a doctor and undergoes an exam of some form. The doctor uses tools on top of his desk during the exam rather than using the sanitized tools from the drawer of the room. Should infection or some form of ailment arise as a result of this, that's an example of a failure to adhere to a standard of care.

Proving a Breach of Duty

In order to determine negligence in a medical malpractice case, generally it must be shown that a patient was injured as a result of a breach in the medical professional's duty of care. If that direct link between harm/injury and the breach of duty can be demonstrated, then the breach of duty and negligence in the case is proven.

How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help

Proving negligence requires a skilled litigator who understands the various complexities of the legal process and what it entails. That is why it's important to partner with a skilled lawyer. A medical malpractice attorney will help navigate the many complexities in the legal system, allowing you to achieve peace of mind and focus on wellness and recovery.

Contact the Lawyers of Fabian VanCott

To learn more about your legal rights following a serious medical mistake or doctor error, it's of the utmost importance that you contact our team of personal injury attorney today. The lawyers of Fabian VanCott will work with you to ensure that you receive expert legal advice.

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