Negligence is the primary civil cause of action that healthcare providers face. A negligence action can involve either a claim of general liability or a claim of professional liability. In either case, there are four basic legal elements in any cause of action that alleges negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages. All FOUR are required for a viable legal claim of negligence.
Professional liability is the most common type of negligence claim against professional advice-providing or service-providing individuals and companies. Also referred to as malpractice liability, professional liability involves allegations of professional negligence. Medical professional liability involves claims that allege negligence for patient care and treatment activities. To state a successful cause of action for medical negligence, a plaintiff must have evidence of all of the legal elements referred to above. To win the cause of action, the plaintiff must prove both the relevant recognized standard of care for the particular professional and that the professional departed from that standard of care causing a physical injury to the plaintiff. Generally, both are proved through testimony of expert witnesses.
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