We Fight for You
Photo of professionals at Winckler & Harvey PLLC

What are the necessary elements of a medical malpractice case?

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Most medical professionals go above and beyond to provide patients with the best care possible. However, some behave irresponsibly, which can lead to serious health issues.

Medical malpractice cases involve a patient asserting that a healthcare professional’s negligence caused harm. To build a strong case, certain key elements must be present and thoroughly examined.

Duty of care

The first element in a medical malpractice case is establishing a duty of care. This means demonstrating that the healthcare provider has a responsibility to provide a standard level of care to the patient. It proves that a doctor-patient relationship existed, creating a duty for the healthcare professional to uphold a reasonable standard of care.

Breach of duty

The next element involves proving a breach of duty. This implies that the healthcare professional failed to meet the standard of care expected in their field. It is not about perfection, but rather whether the actions or decisions made deviated from what a reasonable healthcare provider would do under similar circumstances.


Proving a causal connection between the breach of duty and the harm suffered is another important element. The patient must demonstrate that the healthcare provider’s actions directly resulted in the injury or worsening of their condition. This element requires a clear link between the negligent act and the harm suffered.


For a medical malpractice case to proceed, the patient must show that they suffered damages as a result of the healthcare provider’s negligence. Damages can include physical harm, emotional distress, additional medical expenses or loss of income. Establishing the extent of these damages is essential for determining the compensation owed to the patient.

Expert testimony

Medical malpractice cases often require expert testimony to establish the standard of care and whether a breach occurred. Experts in the relevant medical field can provide insight into what a competent healthcare professional would have done under the circumstances. Their testimony adds credibility and clarity to the case.

As reported by the National Library of Medicine, 250,000 patients in the U.S. go through an adverse health event yearly. For these individuals, understanding what constitutes medical malpractice is an important factor when seeking justice.

FindLaw Network