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The Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Claims


As we've discussed in an earlier blog, in order to win a personal injury lawsuit, an injured person must show that the defendant/wrongdoer did not exercise the appropriate standard of care. In most claims based on negligence, the plaintiff must only show that the at-fault party did not act as a reasonable person would. In a medical malpractice claim, though, the standard to which the defendant will be held is much higher.

Because medical professionals have substantial additional training, and because people rely on that training and knowledge when they seek medical care, the law has evolved to hold medical practitioners to a higher standard of care. It's important to understand, though, that the standard of care is not set forth in a written law. You won't be able to go to a statute to find out exactly what a surgeon, general practitioner or other specialist must do to meet the requisite standard of care. Instead, the appropriate standard of care (and whether the medical professional exercised that level of care) are determined by a jury on a case-by-case basis.

As a general rule, both parties will introduce expert testimony to establish the acceptable standard of care. In making that determination, the court will ask the experts to answer a number of questions:

  • What is the care that would have been provided by a competent and skilled medical professional, and was that care provided here?
  • Was the care that was provided similar to that which would have been provided by a medical professional with the same education and experience as the defendant?
  • Was the care that was provided similar to that which would have been provided by a person with the same type of medical practice in the same community?

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the medical negligence, contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333 (toll free at ). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

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