In common language, we consider it negligence if one imposes a careless or unreasonable risk of harm upon another. The legal criteria for determining negligence are as follows:

1. the professional must have a duty to the affected party

2. the professional must breach that duty

3. the affected party must experience a harm; and

4. the harm must be caused by the breach of duty.

This principle affirms the need for medical competence. It is clear that medical mistakes occur, however, this principle articulates a fundamental commitment on the part of health care professionals to protect their patients from harm.

In other words, just because you were injured, it doesn’t necessarily mean someone was negligent if the standard of care was followed and the known risk was disclosed.  For example, if you had a a nerve root block and became paralyzed due to no fault of your physician, there is no negligence.  Alternatively, if you became paralyzed because the technique was improper, then there might be negligence.