What are the 4 elements of malpractice?

While most experiences with your healthcare provider are routine and conducted with the utmost care, sometimes that may not be the case. When you or a loved one are injured due to the actions, inaction, or advice of a medical provider, you have experienced medical malpractice. In Nevada, medical malpractice is defined as the failure of a physician, hospital, or employee of a hospital to use the reasonable care, skill, or knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances in rendering services.

Medical malpractice is a complex area of law with specific rules and requirements. To bring a successful medical malpractice claim, an injured person must prove that the healthcare provider was negligent and that four elements are present. Here, we discuss the four elements of medical malpractice, the different types of medical malpractice, and how De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyer can assist you with your medical malpractice claim.

The Four Elements of Medical Malpractice

For a medical malpractice lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiff or injured person must prove they were injured due to the negligence of a medical or healthcare professional. This requires the plaintiff to prove the following four elements:

  1. Duty of Care: the healthcare professional or facility owed the injured person a duty of care.
  2. Breach: the healthcare professional or facility breached that duty of care.
  3. Causation: the injured person suffered injuries due to the healthcare professional or facility’s negligence.
  4. Damages: the injured person suffered damages or financial and other losses.

Let’s discuss each of the above elements in more detail.

Duty of Care

In any negligence case, there must be a duty of care owed to the injured person. A duty typically arises when a relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff legally requires the defendant to act in a certain manner. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the legal relationship created is the doctor-patient relationship. When you receive medical treatment, you and the medical provider or facility enter into a doctor-patient relationship.

All healthcare providers, including general and nurse practitioners, surgeons, nurses, and specialists, owe a specific duty of care to the patients they treat. The specific duty of care requires the medical professional or facility to treat the patient with the same skill and care as a prudent, reasonable and similarly trained medical professional would in the same or a similar situation. This means a court will compare a cardiologist with similar cardiologists or will hold a nurse practitioner to the same standard as similar nurse practitioners.

If you receive medical treatment from a healthcare provider or facility, you enter the doctor-patient relationship, and a duty of care is assumed.


After establishing a duty of care, you must show the healthcare provider or facility breached that duty. A breach of duty of care results when a medical professional or facility fails to exercise the degree of medical skill or care that another healthcare professional in the same specialty would in a similar situation.

This is the most difficult element to prove and is usually determined with the testimony of medical experts.


Once a breach of duty of care is established, you must prove the healthcare professional or facility’s conduct or negligence was the direct cause of a new injury or illness, a worsening of your health condition, or emotional harm you experienced. You typically prove this by showing your health condition worsened or you experienced a healthcare injury because of the medical provider’s negligence or error and that the condition wouldn’t have worsened or occurred without the professional’s negligence or error.

You must suffer an injury or harm. Even if your medical provider or facility makes an error, if you do not suffer any injury or harm, there is no malpractice claim.


For the last element of damages, you must prove you experienced measurable harm or injury by the medical provider or facility. The harm may be physical, mental, or emotional, or it can mean financial losses. Measurable means the court can assign a monetary value to your injuries.

Damages can be proven with your testimony, medical records, and expert testimony.

Types of Medical Malpractice

While medical errors are common, not every mistake results in a medical malpractice lawsuit. To successfully file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must have suffered injury or damages due to the provider’s or facility’s negligence. Below are some common causes of medical malpractice claims:

  • Misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis: Incorrectly or delaying a diagnosis.
  • Surgical errors: Operating on the wrong body part or leaving tools in the body following surgery.
  • Medication errors: Prescribing the wrong medicine or the wrong dose.
  • Labor and birth-related Injuries: injuries caused to the parent or child during labor and delivery, including injuries caused by oxygen deprivation, delayed delivery, a failure to monitor, and spinal cord or developmental injuries.
  • Failure to follow up about a significant health concern or to recognize symptoms that could be serious.
  • Incorrect, inaccurate, or unnecessary surgical interventions.
  • Failure to order proper diagnostic tests or act on the test results.

How Can De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers Help You With Your Medical Malpractice Claim?

Medical malpractice claims can be devastating to families and confusing to navigate. Our attorneys understand that every personal injury case is unique and complex. At De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers, we approach each case with extensive knowledge of Nevada personal injury law. We handle every step of your medical malpractice claim process, including:

  • Clearly explaining your legal rights and options and maximizing your damages.
  • Gathering the necessary evidence for the case.
  • Filing your claim with the court.
  • Getting you compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages associated with your medical malpractice case.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the actions of a medical professional, contact us online or call 702-803-3263 for a free consultation. Our bilingual staff and knowledgeable, dedicated legal professionals are ready to assist you.

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