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Elements of negligence needed for a wrongful death case

Pittsburgh residents don’t expect their family member will become the victim of medical malpractice. When a person goes to the doctor they expect that they will get answers about what’s wrong and hopefully a way to make it better. But when a doctor makes a surgical error it can lead to a serious injury or even death.

When a family believes there has been a doctor mistake that led to their loved one’s death there are elements that need to be present in order to bring a negligence claim. The plaintiff must prove four elements of negligence are present. The first element is duty. This is where the plaintiff shows that the defendant owed them a duty of care. A doctor would owe a patient duty of care because they provide competent medical care.

The second element is breach of duty. The plaintiff needs to show that the defendant did not perform their duty and under similar circumstances the same person would perform the job differently. So the defendant would be found negligent if another doctor in the same capacity and knowing the same information would have acted differently in the same situation.

The third element is causation. This is where the plaintiff needs to show that the defendant’s actions caused their injury. And the fourth element is damages. This means that the court is able to compensate the plaintiff for their injury. If a person believes their loved one is the victim of a negligent doctor they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review medical records and consult with medical experts. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: injury.findlaw.com, “Proving fault: What is negligence?“, accessed on Nov. 24, 2015