Professional malpractice means that the professional failed to use the ordinary skill and care that would be used by other professionals in handling a similar problem or case under similar circumstances. The following elements are involved in determining malpractice: Duty (owed by the professional to act properly), Breach (the professional was negligent, made a mistake, or did not do what the professional agreed to do), Causation (this conduct caused damages), and Damages (losses suffered as a result).
When a driver runs a red light or speeds, the driver clearly has created a danger for other people on the highway and will be held liable if the dangerous driving results in a collision. In many malpractice cases, however, it is not as clear what the exercise of due care means. Often there are alternative ways to treat a patient or handle a legal issue. In a malpractice action, an expert in the field may have to testify about whether the conduct of the defendant (the professional) fell below what is expected of a professional in that field. It may also be have occurred in the absence of the allegedly improper conduct difficult to establish whether the conduct of the defendant caused the injury to the plaintiff (the party seeking damages). A medical patient’s health may have declined or a client in a lawsuit may have lost a case, regardless of whether the doctor or professional actually made an error. The plaintiff in a malpractice case must prove that the injury or loss would not.
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