Skip to content

What Is Considered Medical Negligence?

Surgeon in the operating room.

We trust doctors and other medical professionals with our health and our lives when we’re under their care. Many doctors and other health care professionals provide attentive care, but they’re also human. They make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can cause serious harm to a patient. But when does a medical professional’s mistake amount to medical negligence?

Medical negligence involves a health care provider failing to follow the recognized standard of care and causing preventable harm to a patient. Proving negligence is crucial if you are seeking to recover compensation for injuries related to your medical treatment. To give yourself the best possible chance of pursuing compensation for your injuries, contact the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates.

As both a medical malpractice lawyer and a physician, Dr. Wilson has unique insight into medical malpractice cases. Dr. Wilson has spent more than 30 years fighting on behalf of medical malpractice victims and has recovered more than $100 million in compensation for clients. If you have questions about a medical malpractice claim, contact our law office in Washington, D.C., for a free initial consultation.

What Is Classified as Medical Negligence?

All personal injury claims, including medical malpractice claims, center on the concept of negligence. In legal terms, negligence generally means that someone failed to exercise reasonable caution or prudence to prevent causing injury or harm to another person.

Courts have recognized that just because a medical professional makes a mistake does not necessarily mean that the error amounts to medical negligence. For a healthcare professional’s actions or failure to act to be medical negligence, the injured patient must show that the actions of the medical provider violated the medical standard of care. In other words, the provider’s actions were not in line with what another reasonably prudent doctor, with comparable training, would have done in a similar situation. You’ll also have to show that the provider’s actions or inaction directly caused your injuries.

Medical negligence encompasses a wide range of acts, such as:

To determine whether you have a medical malpractice case, you may need to have a qualified attorney obtain your medical records and conduct an independent investigation.

What Are the “4 Ds” of Medical Negligence?

There are four key components of a medical negligence claim. They are sometimes referred to as the “4 Ds.” Those four components are:

  • Duty – The first step in a medical negligence claim is showing that the medical provider who treated you or the hospital or other medical facility where you were treated owed you a duty of care. You’ll have to show that you had a patient relationship with the medical provider or facility. This can be done by gathering your medical records and showing your treatment with the provider.
  • Dereliction – The next step in a medical negligence claim is demonstrating the provider or facility’s dereliction of duty. You must provide evidence illustrating how the provider or facility’s actions failed to provide treatment in keeping with the medical standard of care. For a provider or facility’s actions to amount to a dereliction of duty, the provider’s actions must be out of line with accepted treatment practices.
  • Damages – Just because someone made a mistake in your medical treatment does not necessarily mean you’ve been the victim of negligence. In medical negligence claims, you must show that you suffered some harm as a result of the provider or facility’s actions. If you were given the wrong dose of medication but there were no harmful effects, for instance, you would not have a case for negligence.
  • Direct cause – Finally, you must show that the harm you suffered was the direct cause of the provider or facility’s negligent actions. This is often one of the most difficult components of a medical negligence claim. It often takes specialized knowledge to establish a causal link between a provider’s negligent actions and the harm a patient suffered afterward. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you build a strong case for compensation.

Group of surgeons in an operating room performing surgery

Do I Have a Case for Medical Negligence?

Patients often are uncertain whether they have been victims of medical negligence, except in cases involving obvious errors such as wrong-site surgeries. If you believe the treatment you received did not live up to the medical standard of care and that you were injured, as a result, it’s a good idea to talk to a medical malpractice attorney. Our legal team at the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates can examine your medical records to determine whether the treatment you received qualifies as negligence and if you may have a case for compensation.

How Difficult Is It to Prove Medical Negligence?

Proving medical negligence can be challenging. Some of the evidence that you and your attorney may use as part of a medical malpractice claim includes:

  • Your medical history
  • Lab results from any tests you took
  • X-rays, CT scans, and other radiological exams
  • The doctor’s own personal history, such as any prior claims of negligence made against them
  • The history of the facility where you received treatment
  • Testimony from medical experts

Contact a Washington, D.C., Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

Proving a medical malpractice claim without help from an attorney is extremely difficult. As both an attorney and a physician with legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University, Dr. Michael M. Wilson has the unique experience to handle medical negligence cases.

The medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates have the knowledge to help you understand your legal options, meticulously investigate your case, and help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries. Our law firm serves clients throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Washington, D.C., today for a free consultation.

Visit Our Washington, DC Medical Malpractice Law Offices

Get A Free Case Consultation

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Our Location

1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.

Suite 500

Washington, D.C. 20036


Get Directions