A large-scale study showed that the amount of money paid out for medical malpractice claims declined by more than half between 1992-2014.

One of the reasons why is because it’s difficult to prove malpractice. The plaintiffs need to prove that there was negligence. From a legal standpoint, the plaintiff must prove that there are four elements present in these cases. These elements are referred to as the 4 D’s of medical negligence.

What are the 4 D’s of medical negligence? Keep reading to find out.

1. Duty to Care

The first D of medical negligence cases is the duty to care. A doctor-patient relationship has to exist in the first place. Under this type of relationship, a doctor or healthcare provider is obligated to provide a high level of care and follow regular protocols.

This is easy to prove if you have documentation like receipts or medical records that show the doctor or healthcare provider has provided treatment to you.

2. Deviation From the Standard

This doesn’t refer to a standard deviation math problem. Doctors and healthcare providers are obliged to follow certain protocols in their treatment of your medical issues. Did a doctor deviate from that standard?

If you have a condition that was misdiagnosed or a doctor prescribed medication that doctors normally don’t prescribe, these are examples of deviation.

A mistake made in surgery could also be a deviation from the standard. For example, if a doctor leaves a surgical tool inside you during surgery is a deviation.

The best way to prove deviation is to have other medical practitioners discuss what the standard practices are in situations similar to yours. These practitioners can be expert witnesses if your case goes to trial.

3. Direct Cause

Did the deviation cause your pain and suffering? That is the question you must answer to show medical negligence. This is often the most difficult thing to prove in medical negligence claims.

You sprained your ankle and ignored the doctor’s treatment, and the injury didn’t heal properly. You ignored the doctor, so you’re the direct cause of the injury.

On the other hand, if a doctor misdiagnosed your injury and you followed the doctor’s orders to the letter, they could have a direct cause in making the injury worse.

4. Damages

Did the deviation and the direct cause of the injury cause damages to you? The damages could be physical or emotional, and they usually have a financial component tied to them.

What Are the 4 D’s of Medical Negligence?

What are the 4 D’s of medical negligence? Duty to care, deviation, direct cause, and damages all have to be proven in order to win a medical negligence case.

The burden of proof falls to you and your attorney to prove that all D’s are present in your case. If you want to have a chance to win your case, you have to document your case carefully. Keep detailed notes of conversations, and maintain all medical records.

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