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When can a patient sue for medical malpractice?

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Virginia residents are aware of the pedestals we place most doctors on as a society. But, it is shocking if any medical practitioner abuses this status. Questions can arise if the doctor failed to give proper care to a patient. And, if it can be proven that a medical practitioner has been negligent, that person can be sued under medical malpractice laws.

However, certain conditions must be met before a medical practitioner can be sued. So, what are these conditions? Before we answer this question, it is important to remember that people cannot expect doctors to be miracle workers who can fix all of our health problems. A doctor is only expected to meet a specific standard of care. And, only when it can be proven that the doctor has not met this basic standard of care, then and only then can the victim sue the doctor under medical malpractice laws.

Most cases must prove that a medical practitioner was negligent in treating a patient. To establish this, the victim must be able to prove that, first, the doctor had a duty towards the plaintiff. Second, that the practitioner was negligent in his duty towards the patient, meaning that the practitioner did not hold to the standard of care that was expected. Third, the victim must prove that there was a direct connection between their injury and the doctor's negligence.

In order to establish that the doctor's conduct has fallen below the standard of care, the victim must procure another medical expert's testimony. The expert must be specialized in a similar area of medicine as the defendant. The expert must be competent enough to indicate that the standard of care was not met in this case.

Source: "Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases," Accessed on Sept. 7, 2014

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