Negligence claims can be filed against any professional in California that fails to provide their client with the accepted standard of care. However, most professionals that are sued under this negligence doctrine are in the medical field.
Medical malpractice claims
A medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed against a doctor or other health care professional that deviated from the standard of care. Deviating from the standard of care means that the quality of care provided was below the accepted industry standard. In other words, another health care professional in the same situation would have made different choices and provided better care.
A bad outcome is not necessarily malpractice
Establishing the standard of care is important in medical malpractice claims because it helps to differentiate poor treatment from bad outcomes. A patient who dies during surgery is not necessarily a victim of medical malpractice if the surgery was done correctly pursuant to the accepted standard of care. However, a doctor who puts a patient at risk needlessly by performing a surgery that is not accepted as the standard of care could be held liable for death or injury.
Proving a doctor deviated from the standard of care
If you were injured by a doctor’s negligence, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim for compensation. To have a successful claim, you must be able to prove that your doctor gave you substandard treatment by deviating from the standard of care. To do this, most medical malpractice plaintiffs rely on expert witnesses to testify. An expert witness may be another doctor who can attest to the fact that your treatment did not meet the professional standard.