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Duty of care matters in medical malpractice cases

Many medical malpractice cases are based on claims that a patient didn't receive the proper care. In the medical industry, there is a standard of care that must be met for each case. However, a doctor isn't always required to treat people up to that level. There are some instances in which a doctor doesn't actually owe a person any care.

The duty of care is one of the points that must be met when you file a medical malpractice claim. This means that the doctor had a duty to provide you with medical care for your situation. In order for this to occur, you and the doctor must have an established professional relationship.

This means that if a doctor who you haven't ever seen is in a restaurant with you and you start to choke, the doctor doesn't have to try to save you because you aren't his or her patient. If you are in the doctor's office and you start to choke, the doctor would need to take action because you are his or her patient.

If you have an established doctor-patient relationship with a doctor, he or she has to treat you properly. The standard of care that you are due depends on the doctor's education, training, skill, ability and access. A doctor who runs a rural clinic wouldn't be held to the same standard as a cardiac surgeon if you are having a heart attack and need treatment.

When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, ensuring that all applicable points are met is important. Missing a required point could render your case invalid.

Source: FindLaw, "What Is a Doctor's Duty of Care?," accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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