Even though a doctor's role is to heal or treat a patient and improve his or her health to the extent possible, some people actually end up being harmed by the actions of medical professionals. When the actions of medical professionals cause harm or injury to a patient, medical malpractice may have occurred. Patients and/or their family members may be able to file a lawsuit against the medical provider for compensation for the injuries suffered in this situation. However, winning a malpractice case depends on successfully proving that a doctor committed malpractice in a way that is recognizable under the law.
There are several, but not limitless, ways to prove malpractice. One of the most common scenarios involves negligence. The law relating to medical negligence first requires that the medical professional owe a certain kind of duty to the patient. Many duties owed to patients stem from the doctor-patient relationship. Additionally, the injured patient must show that the health care professional did not act consistently with the recognized standard of care and that the patient's injury resulted from that deviation. Negligence can be proven in cases, for instance, in which doctors fail to perform standard testing, fail to properly diagnose an illness or injury or fail to adequately monitor a patient during or after treatment.