G. Eric Nielson, Medical Malpractice Law Firm

Four Elements Medical Malpractice

What Are the Four Elements that Constitute Medical Malpractice?

Salt Lake City, Tooele and Price, Utah

4 Four Elements of Medical Malpractice

In simple terms, medical malpractice is defined as professional negligence by a doctor, surgeon, nurse or other healthcare worker that causes physical or emotional harm to a patient. That negligence can come in the form of an act or the omission of an act of necessary care.

For more than 20 years, our highly skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Salt Lake City’s G. Eric Nielson & Associates, LLC have been successfully handling medical malpractice cases. In fact, we have devoted our practice to helping only medical negligence victims.

That experience is immensely helpful to our clients, as medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated and aggressively refuted in the healthcare arena.

The Mandatory Four Elements in Medical Malpractice Law

There are essentially four elements that must be proven in a medical malpractice personal injury case:

  1. Duty
  2. Breach of Duty
  3. Damage
  4. Cause


  1. Duty – A duty must have been owed to a patient by a healthcare practitioner charged with that patient’s care. The doctor-patient relationship is a common example of a situation where that duty would exist.
  2. Breach of Duty –The healthcare practitioner who had the duty of care for that patient must have failed in his/her duty by not exercising the degree of care or medical skill that another healthcare professional in the same specialty would have used in an equal situation. (This is when an expert is often called in to testify as to what an appropriate standard of care would be.)
  3. Damage – The patient must have suffered emotional or physical injury while in the care of the healthcare practitioner. The injury can be a new one, or an aggravation of an existing injury.
  4. Cause – There must be solid proof that the breach of duty by the healthcare practitioner caused the patient’s injury.

A successful medical malpractice suit will have proven that all four of these factors exist. If the defendant or healthcare practitioner being sued can prove that one or more of the elements does not exist, then the plaintiff would not prevail.

If you have additional questions about medical malpractice law and how it pertains to your specific situation, we’re here to help. Please contact the experienced Salt Lake City, Utah medical malpractice lawyers at G. Eric Nielson & Associates, LLC.

Do you have a case?

Contact us

  • ADDRESS4790 Holladay Blvd, Salt Lake City, UT 84117
  • PHONE801-424-9088