Doctors operate under a legal “duty of care”, a standard requiring they provide an acceptable standard of care for their patients. That duty is breached if they either harm their patient or lapse in their duty to treat them correctly, which is usually due to negligence.
Determining Legal Action
In order to have a case, the alleged malpractice must have led to some sort of injury that another doctor in the same field, under the same circumstance would not have made. Generally, successful medical and negligence malpractice claims that are successful involve those where a permanent injury occurs or the patient suffers a long-term loss of work, or physical ability.
Determining Legal Responsibility
If one has a case worth pursuing, the person or facility liable must be determined and named. A variety of factors should be considered when determining if the physician or facility where the treatment was administered is considered legally responsible. On the one hand, if a hospital employee such as a nurse makes a mistake while under the supervision of a doctor, the responsibility may shift to the doctor (assuming said doctor was present and could have prevented the problem).
In cases such as this the individual doctor or support staff is liable rather than the hospital.