It is safe to say that most Americans trust their doctors with their lives. If you can relate to this, then you may be one of thousands who feels betrayed because your health care provider made a mistake that resulted in a serious and possibly life-threatening injury. In your pursuit of restitution, you may consider filing a medical malpractice claim. Before you do, make sure your situation contains all the elements of a medical malpractice claim. 

According to FindLaw, there are three elements of a medical malpractice claim: Duty of care, breach of duty and harm or damage. The first element, “Duty of Care,” exists once a doctor and person establish a patient-doctor relationship, and/or once a health care provider agrees to assist an ill or injured person. Once either or both happens, the doctor has a responsibility to treat you with the degree of care, skill and diligence expected of other reasonably competent physicians in the same field. 

If you can establish that a patient-doctor relationship exists, you must then prove breach of duty. Breach of duty occurs when a doctor acts against, or fails to act, in a manner that is conducive to his or her role and given the unique circumstances. To prove the existence of this element, you must have a medical expert testify that he or she, or any other reasonable party in the same situation, would have proceeded differently. 

Finally, you must prove damages or harm that is the proximate cause of the breach. In a medical malpractice case, to establish “proximate cause,” the judge and jury must ask, had the alleged negligence not occurred, would the patient have acquired the harm or injury?