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Need Legal Help for Your Business? Find It Here

When my husband I decided to start a business, we didn't think about the legal aspects of doing so. We didn't realize that purchasing business insurance, getting building permits and making investments all required some type of legal advice. But after speaking to a close friend, who also happens to own a small business, we contacted a business attorney. Now, we have the legal smarts to make the best decisions for our business, as well as the legal representation in case something happens to our company. I hope that you find my blog helpful and informative for your own business. It's a great resource for finding the legal advice, resources and guidance you need to get your company up and running.

Need Legal Help for Your Business? Find It Here

Breaking Down The 4 D's Of Medical Malpractice

Ronnie Mills

One way a medical malpractice lawyer may try to break a case down into its simplest parts is to think about the four Ds. These are duty, dereliction, damages and direct causation.


This refers to what, more generally in injury law, is known as the duty of care. A duty of care is assumed when you enter into a patient–provider relationship. The most obvious version of this is when you take on a doctor as your general practitioner and they do something like prescribe medication.

Assuming a duty of care doesn't always have to involve a direct agreement. For example, an ER surgeon assumes a duty of care for a patient rushed into a hospital even if the patient is in no condition to sign off on receiving care.


The duty of care carries with it a responsibility to provide a professional level of care. Every profession has standards for doing the job well enough, and that particularly applies in medical professions. It's normal for a medical malpractice law firm to discuss procedures that were performed or drugs that were prescribed with doctors in the same field as the allegedly at-fault one in each case.

Note that providing a different form of care isn't necessarily dereliction. If most other doctors agreed that a particular procedure seems a tad outdated but otherwise reasonable, for example, that's probably not a dereliction of the standard of care.


As appalling as it might be to hear this from a medical malpractice lawyer, there are scenarios where a doctor could border on comically bad at their job and still not be liable. If, by some stroke of luck, the worst doctor in the world managed to not cause any provable harm, it doesn't matter if they were shockingly bad. In American law, there's a simple doctrine that damages must occur for compensation to even be a possibility.

Direct Causation

The proximate cause of a problem is just as important in assigning liability. This means that the care that was provided has to be proven to be the main reason the injuries were suffered. For a medical malpractice lawyer, this oftentimes entails collecting massive amounts of reports from the providers involved in treating a client. The goal is to draw a direct line from the actions that were taken and how particular provable damages were suffered. Absent this sort of proof, the care provider may not be found liable.