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What Does It Mean When Doctors Breach Their Duty of Care?

Published in Medical Malpractice on October 13, 2022

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Almost all personal injury claims, including medical malpractice claims in Massachusetts, are founded on a concept that is known as a “breach of duty of care.” Identifying whether a doctor breached their duty of care is essential in determining whether there are grounds for a personal injury claim after suffering an injury due to medical malpractice.

Sweeney Merrigan Personal Injury Lawyers have been fighting for Boston families who have suffered damages due to medical malpractice for over 45 years. You can trust our team to identify all of the responsible parties and fight diligently to recover the settlement you deserve. For a free consultation, call (617) 391-9001 or complete our convenient online contact form to begin discussing your legal options with one of our lawyers today.

What Does a Breach of Duty of Care Entail in a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Claim?

A duty of care represents a legal obligation and depends on the particular circumstances surrounding both parties. For instance, child daycare centers and schools owe the children in their care a reasonable level of safety to protect them in their surroundings. In the medical field, this means upholding strict obligations of care for patients based on professional medical standards.

Should a physician fail to meet this duty of care, they could be held responsible for damages suffered by their patient and the patient’s loved ones, such as for medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. However, in order to recover compensation for the victim’s damages, a personal injury attorney must first be able to prove that:

  • The doctor owed the patient a legal duty of care
  • There was an established doctor-patient relationship
  • The patient chose to be treated by this particular provider
  • The patient was undergoing treatment by the doctor at the time of the malpractice

A Sweeney Merrigan Personal Injury Lawyer may obtain copies of your medical records and other evidence necessary to prove the above factors and support your claim for compensation.

The Medical Standard of Care in Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Claims

Doctors owe a certain level of expertise, skill, and care that can essentially be summed up as “do no harm.” In Massachusetts courts, this standard is decided by evaluating the degree of care and skill that a reasonably competent doctor under the same circumstances would provide. Factors that may be reviewed include:

  • The area of medicine the doctor practices in
  • The typical practices of other local physicians
  • The type of equipment and facilities available to the doctor at the time

Since medical professionals are often responsible for people’s lives and making life-or-death decisions, they are held to exceptionally high standards. However, they cannot be expected to adequately diagnose or treat severe health conditions that are unrelated to their specific field of medicine.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Attorney

When you are suffering the effects of medical malpractice, you need the help of a legal team that has what it takes to gather the necessary evidence to establish a doctor’s breach of duty of care in Massachusetts courts. Our medical malpractice team, which includes attorneys J. Tucker Merrigan, Peter M. Merrigan, and Jessica M. Gray, has successfully recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for our medical malpractice clients.

Sweeney Merrigan Personal Injury Lawyers, assisted by medical records reviewer and legal nurse consultant Amy Nichols, are well-versed in Massachusetts medical malpractice claims. Start your claim today by calling our office at (617) 391-9001 or by submitting a completed contact form.

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