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Patients who suffer harm because of medical care they receive might wonder if they have a case for a medical malpractice claim. There are several points that these patients must remember if they are considering this type of personal injury lawsuit.

One point that is important in these cases is that the error must be preventable. Some negative impacts in medicine are unavoidable, so you normally won't be able to seek compensation for those unless there is an issue that caused you not have informed consent.

There are three points that must be present in all medical malpractice cases. First, there must be a duty owed to the patient. Second, that duty had to be breached. Third, the breach had to cause damage or harm.

Generally, you can't seek compensation for an injury that would have occurred even if the doctor was competent instead of negligent. This is known as the "but for" question.

You also have to think about what a reasonably prudent physician would have done if that person was in the same circumstances as the physician who you blame for your issues. If another prudent physician would have handled the situation in a different way that wouldn't have caused the harm, you might be able to use that information in your case.

You also have to ensure that you were considered a patient in the case. In order to do this, you had to have been under the medical care of the physician against whom you allege malpractice. In the absence of a provider-patient relationship, you might not be able to take any action.

Source: FindLaw, "Medical Malpractice: Background," accessed Nov. 30, 2017

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