The Rise of Negligence in Today’s Medical World


Negligence is commonly referred to as an act performed without care or shows disregard for one’s duty. Negligent acts can sometimes vary in definition and require certain parameters to be considered negligent under the law. The rise of negligence in today’s world is attributable to various factors. Moreover, the rising value of compensation can be considered due to advancements in medical technology.

We shall discuss the reasons for this rise within the medical industry in detail further on, as well as the elements that constitute negligent behavior. Simply saying something is negligent may not be enough in a court of law and for fair and speedy compensation in case of negligent behavior, proving causation and negligence is the key. There are certain elements of negligence and certain factors involved that are contributing to the rise in negligence.

Elements of Negligence:

Proving negligence to get fair compensation can be tricky, but if the elements that constitute negligence are known, there’s a good chance that compensation will be awarded. The onus is on the plaintiff to prove that a defendant was negligent, which they can do by inspecting the following elements.

  • The duty to care for the plaintiff comprises of the first element of negligence. It means that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to conduct reasonable care in situations that affected the plaintiff. For example, a doctor owes the patient professional care, and any actions not up to these standards constitute negligence.
  • A breach of duty is the second element of negligence that would prove the defendant did not provide the care required from them in their professional capacity. In the case of a doctor, making a wrong diagnosis by being inebriated on duty constitutes neglect to the patient.
  • The breach of duty results in an injury sustained by the plaintiff for the defendant’s negligence to be established. If the medical practitioner wrongfully diagnoses a condition that leads to a person’s death, the family can initiate proceedings. However, if a missed diagnosis doesn’t cause the actual death, there’s no breach of duty directly resulting in the injury and hence doesn’t constitute negligence.
  • The defendant’s inability to foresee harm in an injury-causing situation also constitutes negligence. For example, if a medical practitioner doesn’t diagnose a reasonably foreseeable condition for a medical professional of their caliber, it would be considered negligence.
  • The final element of negligence is the ability to prove that the defendant caused an injury because of the defendant’s negligence. If there’s no injury, it is very difficult to prove negligence in a court of law.

What Explains the Rise in Negligence?

After looking at what constitutes negligence, we can discuss the factors behind the sudden rise in negligence and its related lawsuits today. The first component for the rise in negligence claims is the rise in the value of compensation. The increased life expectancy due to medical advancements and medical technology has led to an increase in the value of negligence claims.

As people live longer, the compensation calculated based on this higher life expectancy means a higher value of negligence claims. This means more people and law firms will look at claims based on negligent behavior. The other increase in negligent compensation is due to the volume of cases that has increased considerably.

  • There’s a possibility that the sheer volume of negligence claims is because of incompetence on the part of the medical practitioners. While the number of claims may have risen, it is difficult to comprehend the sudden increase in the negligent behavior of physicians. The field is highly regularized, and stringent training means this claim may not be true.
  • Another reason cited for the increase in negligent cases handled is that precedence is set each day for higher compensation. As case law for negligence increases, there are more chances lawyers will have more material to back up their negligence compensation claims.
  • Finally, the third reason which seems the most plausible is the general awareness exhibited by the plaintiffs about their rights. Patients feel more empowered to claim their rights and for any injury caused due to negligence. Personal injury attorneys out of San Francisco claim that such awareness is behind the increase in negligence claim compensation and negligence cases in general. It is a more plausible explanation for the increase as the public knows better about the law now and is not afraid to file such claims.

There are four types of negligent behavior; one of which includes gross negligence, which is a breach of the duty of care. The rise of negligence today cannot be attributed to one factor. However, the public’s awareness surely is a huge contributing factor to this trend.


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