The legal system can be complex, especially for those who have never encountered it before. It can be especially overwhelming for those whose injuries have been created or worsened by a medical professional who was responsible for improving their medical condition. Those who are considering filing a medical malpractice suit should familiarize themselves with a few legal concepts and terms so they can better contribute to their case.

Most importantly, when a North Carolina medical professional does not act in a way that meets the standard of care, they might be committing medical negligence by breaching the duty owed to a patient. This can be true if the medical professional neglects to do something he or she should have or does something he or she should not have. When this negligent treatment results in injury or death, a medical malpractice can be initiated. A suit has four elements; a physician patient relationship, a patient who has been harmed and the physician has been negligent, causing the patient’s harm.

A common term referred to in medical malpractice suits is the standard of care. What many do not realize is that the standard of care is often of a minimally competent physician. This means the standard of care can be upheld even if there is a tragic outcome. Standard of care is different from duty of care—that is the obligation to provide proper treatment.

The amount of money given to the accident victim for their injury is known as the damages, and there are two types normally given. Compensatory damages are given for injuries or economic losses sustained while punitive are meant to punish the negligent party. If someone’s medical condition has worsened because of a medical professional’s negligence, it is likely the victim will have to receive continuing medical treatment. Damages recovered through a medical malpractice may be one way to cover those medical bills.