If you believe that you have been a victim of medical negligence then it is important to consult an experienced medical negligence lawyer. There is always some degree of risk involved with any medical procedure, so although you may have suffered an injury as a result, it might not necessarily constitute medical negligence. Discussing the case with a medical negligence lawyer can help you to determine if you do have a valid case. Often, assessing the situation based on the 4 ‘Ds’ of medical negligence can help make things clearer for you.

What Are the Four Ds of Medical Negligence?

  • Duty of Care - When you are being treated by a medical professional, they owe you a duty of care in accordance with the standards of the healthcare industry. This covers things like making the correct diagnosis, developing a treatment plan, and offering appropriate aftercare. The first step in a medical negligence lawsuit is proving that the medical professional or facility owed you a duty of care at the time of the negligence, in other words, that you were their patient. Evidence such as your medical records or admission records will help to establish this as fact.
  • Dereliction of Duty - The second of our ‘Ds’ is the dereliction of duty. Your medical negligence lawyer must demonstrate that the medical professional did not fulfill their duty of care. This covers any negligent act or omission that a competent professional should not make. Some examples of dereliction of duty include prescribing errors, misdiagnosis, failure to secure informed consent, surgical errors, and leaving foreign objects in the body. Evidence that can prove a dereliction of duty might include your medical records, eyewitness testimony, or evidence from an expert witness.
  • Direct Causation - It is also necessary for your medical negligence lawyer to prove direct causation, which is a direct connection between the actions of your medical professional and the injury, death, or illness being disputed. There must be evidence that the damages were caused directly otherwise the doctor or other healthcare worker may not be held liable. One example would be where the patient has a terminal illness that would likely cause a rapid decline in health even if the diagnosis was made immediately. In such a case, the doctor may not be held liable even if they missed the diagnosis. There would need to be evidence that recovery would have been possible with earlier treatment.
  • Damages - The final of our four Ds is damages. This is arguably the easiest part for your medical negligence lawyer to prove! They will need to demonstrate quantifiable losses as a result of the negligence. This can include medical bills, loss of earnings, future medical expenses, the cost of adapting the home to accommodate a disability, and payment for pain and suffering.

Medical Negligence is Complex

Now, it may seem simple - it’s just four steps right? No. This is a very simplified outline of how a medical negligence lawsuit may progress, but in reality, it can be incredibly complex since there are so many different factors that can come into play. That is why it is so important to have an experienced medical negligence lawyer at your side guiding you through the entire process.

Damages for Medical Negligence

Suffering an injury, disability, or disfigurement as a result of medical negligence can be life-changing. Not only is your physical, and potentially mental well-being impacted, but it can make massive changes to your daily life. You may no longer be able to work, you may have to give up hobbies, and you may even end up losing important relationships as a result. Your medical negligence lawyer should understand this and work with you to get the damages you deserve. Money won’t make the injury go away, but it can help to make life more comfortable for you and help you to adapt to a new lifestyle.

Damages is the term used to describe the monetary award a victim receives from a personal injury claim, including one involving medical negligence. This is usually split into two different amounts. One for economic damages and another for non-economic damages.

  • Economic Damages - This covers damages that make up for direct financial losses as a result of the injury, This might include:
    • Current & future medical costs
    • Lost wages & income
    • Long-term reduction in earning capacity
    • Cost of remodeling your home to accommodate a wheelchair or other accessibility needs
    • Cost of employing a carer to assist in daily life
  • Non-Economic Damages - Some of the harm you experience does not constitute a financial loss, but you can still be owed damages by way of compensation. Many of the difficulties you now face are likely to be intangible things like psychological and emotional harm. Non-economical damages can be awarded for things like:
    • Pain, discomfort & suffering
    • Mental anguish including anxiety or stress
    • PTSD
    • Disfigurement
    • Loss of consortium
    • Difficulty in day-to-day activities

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, get in touch today to discuss your case.


Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice LawBirth Injury LawTrucking Accident LawPersonal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at www.bvblaw.com or call 865-637-3531.

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