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What does the phrase standard of care mean?

In medical malpractice cases, a victim must prove that his or her doctor violated what people call the standard of care before he or she can expect to get compensation for his or her injuries. Many Camden County, New Jersey, residents may wonder what exactly the standard of care entails, especially if they themselves feel that their doctors have injured them through their mistakes.

The term standard of care has both a medical meaning and meaning when it comes to legal matters, including medical malpractice lawsuits. In strict medical parlance, the standard of care refers to what a doctor should do when presented with a certain medical condition or problem. In this respect, just as there is more than one way to handle a medical problem, there can also be more than one standard of care.

Legally speaking, the standard of care is an average, but not a very well-defined average, of how one would expect a doctor to behave. It refers to what a typical doctor, being careful and cautious, would do under a given set of circumstances. One establishes the standard of care by looking to the local community of other doctors with whom the doctor in question practices medicine. As such, a doctor in Camden may be held to a different standard of care than one in another part of the country or even an outlying part of New Jersey.

Ultimately, a victim of malpractice has to show what the legal standard of care is in his or her community, usually by relying on experts to explain his or her position. The victim also has to prove the doctor violated the standard of care. This is not always an easy thing to do, which is one reason it might be a good idea of a victim of malpractice to secure the assistance of a qualified medical malpractice attorney.

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