What Are the 4 D’s of Medical Malpractice?

For any medical malpractice case to be successful, your Louisville medical malpractice lawyer at Wilt Injury Lawyers will need to be able to prove based on a preponderance of the evidence that the accused party is liable.

When you understand how the four D’s of medical malpractice work, you’ll have a better idea of whether you have grounds for an injury claim and what to expect from your claim if you do.


The first “D” of medical malpractice cases refers to the medical duty of care. A healthcare provider only has a duty to provide care to a patient when the healthcare provider has agreed or volunteered to provide medical services to a patient. If they have not, then they have no duty to the patient.

A good example could be if a doctor sees a car accident where people were injured. He has no duty to provide care to the patients while driving by. But if he stops and volunteers to provide help, then he does have a duty to the injured party.


The second “D” stands for deviation from the standard of care. Once a healthcare provider has agreed to provide services and has a duty to the patient, you will only have a lawsuit if they then deviate from the medical standard of care.

This refers to the obligation healthcare providers have to provide the same high-quality care that a similarly qualified provider would. This is also in reference to whatever mistake was made that caused the injury. Some of the common causes of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to treat
  • Failure to provide follow-up care
  • Birth injuries
  • Surgical mistakes
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Prescription drug mistakes

Your Louisville medical malpractice lawyer at Wilt Injury Lawyers will closely review the details of your case to determine whether your injuries or illness were caused by a breach in the medical duty of care.

Direct Cause

The next “D” stands for direct cause. The healthcare provider’s aforementioned deviation must be directly responsible for the injuries or illness that the victim endured.

Proving causation can be one of the most challenging aspects of any case. For example, if you had heart surgery and suffered complications, it may be more difficult to prove direct cause than if your surgeon left a sponge inside you while performing heart surgery.


The fourth and final “D” refers to damages. This is where your lawyer will need to show the court that the medical professional’s negligence causes financial and nonfinancial losses that deserve restitution. Some of these damages could include:

Contact a Louisville Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Do you believe that you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit? If so, get help from a Louisville medical malpractice lawyer at Wilt Injury Lawyers. When you are ready to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, call our office at 502-253-9110 or reach out through the online contact form at the bottom of this page.