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The four criteria required for a medical malpractice claim

When you or a loved one check-in to a New Jersey hospital, it is generally with the expectation that the medical professionals there will improve an existing health issue. At Navisky, Olson & Wisneski LLP, our experienced team works with clients to secure settlements when preventable medical errors result in serious injury or fatalities.

Dr. Edward Mallory reports that there are four criteria, typically referred to as the “Four D’s,” needed for a medical malpractice claim.


Doctors must meet particular expectations of confidence and competence. Their oaths require that they treat their patients with respect and provide the needed medical care when possible. If they are not qualified, it is their duty to refer the patient to another physician or specialist who can address the issue. Failure to do so is a failure to their duty. 


Violation of trust, mistaken diagnosis or providing inappropriate treatment are examples of dereliction of duty. In some cases, the doctor may go further than the defined scope of work, such as removing an appendix when only the gallbladder should be removed. Using unsterilized tools or operating in an unsanitary environment that leads to infection can also fall under dereliction.

Direct negative cause

When misdiagnosis results in death or a procedure takes place on the wrong limb, the doctor’s actions are considered the cause of the adverse outcome. Medical records and additional documentation are critical to proving direct causation.


Medical bills, emotional distress and lost wages are among some of the most common damages cited in medical malpractice lawsuits.In cases where the doctor’s actions are extremely negligent, such as instances of wrongful death, the court may award punitive damages

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