Some Legal Terms Related to Medical Negligence Claims

Medical negligence claims involve complex legal concepts that are essential for understanding the basis of such cases. Key terms like standard of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages play a crucial role in determining liability and compensation in these claims. Concepts like informed consent, contributory negligence, and duty of candour add further layers of complexity to these cases. Understanding these terms is essential for both healthcare providers and patients involved in medical negligence claims.

Some common legal terms related to medical negligence claims:


  1. Medical Negligence: Also known as medical malpractice, it refers to a healthcare provider’s failure to meet the standard of care expected in their profession, resulting in harm to the patient.
  2. Standard of Care: The level of care and skill that a reasonably competent healthcare professional in the same field would provide under similar circumstances.
  3. Breach of Duty: When a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care expected of them, it is considered a breach of their duty to the patient.
  4. Causation: In a medical negligence claim, it must be proven that the breach of duty directly caused the harm suffered by the patient.
  5. Damages: The harm or losses suffered by the patient as a result of the medical negligence, which may include physical injury, emotional distress, and financial losses.
  6. Informed Consent: The requirement for healthcare providers to inform patients of the risks, benefits, and alternatives of a proposed treatment or procedure before obtaining the patient’s consent.
  7. Statute of Limitations: The time limit within which a medical negligence claim must be filed, which varies depending on the jurisdiction.
  8. Contributory Negligence: When the patient’s own actions or failure to act contribute to the harm suffered, which can affect the amount of compensation they are entitled to receive.
  9. Res Ipsa Loquitur: A legal doctrine that allows a presumption of negligence when the facts of the case imply that the harm would not have occurred without negligence, and the defendant has control over the situation.
  10. Duty of Candour: The legal requirement for healthcare providers to be open and honest with patients or their families when something goes wrong with their care, including disclosing adverse events.

These terms are important to understand when navigating a medical negligence claim, as they form the basis of the legal principles involved.


In conclusion, the legal terms related to medical negligence claims are vital for understanding the legal principles that govern such cases. Whether you are a healthcare provider or a patient, having a basic understanding of these terms can help you navigate the complexities of medical negligence claims and understand your rights and obligations in such situations.

* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with Reg.8 of SI 518 of 2002.