The 4 Common Types of Medical Malpractice Claims and How to Prove Them


    Medicine, as a profession and service, is among the most revered industries in society. Individuals who practice medicine are treated with respect as well. Expectations run high when an industry and its professionals are held in such high regard. Along with such high expectations and respect come the consequences of not meeting them.

    Medical Malpractice Claims

    Medical professionals have a standard of care to which they must adhere. A patient suffering an injury due to a medical professional’s negligence means that the standard of care was not met. This is what medical malpractice is all about.

    Like in other cases, one can seek help from a medical malpractice lawyer if they feel the treatment they received was below par or if they suffered fresh injuries due to the treatment. The compensation one receives for a medical malpractice claim usually depends on the severity of the injuries they’re suffering from.

    So, what constitutes medical malpractice? This article lists four of the most common types of medical malpractice claims. Information on how to prove them is also provided.

    The common types of medical malpractice claims are:

    1. Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose

    2. Pharmaceutical Errors

    3. Surgical Errors

    4. Birth Injury

    Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose

    Misdiagnosis in itself doesn’t fall under medical malpractice. It is when the misdiagnosis leads to wrong or delayed medical treatment or no treatment at all, and that causes fresh complications for the patient. Not identifying the symptoms of complications that can either alter or worsen an individual’s existing condition also falls under misdiagnosis.

    How to Prove a Misdiagnosis

    A patient seeking a misdiagnosis claim must prove the following elements:

    1. That there was a doctor-patient relationship

    2. The doctor didn’t achieve the expected standard of care that was needed to diagnose the patient’s health condition

    3. The doctor’s improper diagnosis of the condition or the failure to diagnose the condition has either

    a. Worsened the patient’s condition

    b. Caused a fresh medical complication/injury

    4. That a doctor with similar expertise would not have misdiagnosed the condition

    Pharmaceutical Errors

    Pharmaceutical errors are those made by a doctor or nurse when prescribing medication. The improper filling or dispensing of a prescription by a pharmacist also falls into this category. Retail chain drug stores and prescription mail order houses are vulnerable to pharmaceutical errors.

    Pharmaceutical errors are generally of three types:

    1. Improper dosage

    2. Improper prescription

    3. Improper administration

    How to Prove Pharmaceutical Errors

    You will have a pharmaceutical case if you can prove that the wrong prescription or dosage caused harm and that the action was completely preventable. It is the responsibility of the doctor to inform the patient about the possible effects of the drugs they’re prescribing and how those drugs interact with other drugs. Submitting evidence that the doctor failed to provide the necessary warning of drug interactions or side effects proves that they did not meet the standard of care expected from them.

    Surgical Errors

    All surgeries come with a certain level of risk. This is the main reason why patients are asked to sign a document agreeing to the risks associated with the injuries.

    Surgeons are expected to follow a certain standard of care, which is simply the level of care one would expect from another healthcare professional with the same training and experience. This is important when a complication arises during surgery. If the surgeon acted with the expected standard of care, the patient cannot seek damages for the injuries/illness suffered as a result of the complication.

    How to Prove Surgical Errors

    A patient who drags a surgeon to court must prove the following elements.

    1. The surgery/medical treatment was below the standard of care

    2. The surgery caused an injury/illness that could have been avoided

    The rules of surgical errors may vary. In some states, emergency departments in hospitals are required to adhere to a different standard of care. In those states, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant acted with gross negligence.

    Birth injury

    Not all birth injuries are preventable. But when a child or a mother suffers from a preventable injury during childbirth, the healthcare professional can be held responsible. The common types of birth injuries include:

    • Cerebral Palsy

    • Head and Brain Injuries

    • Nerve Injuries

    • Pregnancy and Childbirth Complications

    How to Prove Birth Injuries

    Like most lawsuits, the plaintiff in a child birth injury case needs to prove the following things.

    • The healthcare provider did not meet the expected standard of care

    • This lack of standard of care caused injuries to the child and mother

    Additionally, the plaintiff may have to introduce an expert witness to prove their case. The expert witness will assist with the technical elements and help strengthen the case.


    Victims of medical malpractice often suffer from serious injuries that they may carry for the rest of their lives. Those who have suffered must consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney to find out ways to receive just compensation. The attorney will have access to an expert witness who will be instrumental in your medical malpractice claim.


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