What Are the Four D’s of Medical Negligence in Virginia?

Blog Featured Image

When you visit a doctor, you expect that they will treat you to the best of their ability. You should be able to trust your doctors and other medical professionals. However, not all Virginia medical providers provide the required standard of care, resulting in mistakes.

Some of these mistakes rise to the level of medical negligence, which means you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

To successfully resolve a medical malpractice claim, you need to prove the 4 D’s of malpractice. Because medical negligence claims are typically complicated to pursue, we recommend contacting a skilled Virginia medical malpractice lawyer for assistance. 

To set up a free consultation, send us a message or call (804) 404-7870 today.

What Are the Four D’s of Negligence?

The four D’s of negligence are duty, dereliction, direct causation, and damages. If you cannot prove even one of these elements, you won’t have a valid claim for medical malpractice. 

Duty Is the Physician’s Duty of Care

All health care professionals are legally obligated to uphold a certain standard of care when treating any of their patients. This duty requires medical professionals to use the same high standard of care that similar medical professionals would use.

They must also inform their patients about any potential risks of treatment or procedures and keep their patients’ personal information confidential.

Dereliction Occurs When the Health Care Provider Breaches Their Duty

When a Virginia health care provider is derelict in their duty, they can be held responsible for their actions. Examples of dereliction include when a health care provider prescribes the wrong medication or performs an unauthorized procedure.

Other derelictions occur when a surgeon leaves a foreign object in someone’s body after surgery or a patient develops an infection after a procedure because a medical professional didn’t properly sanitize the work environment.

Direct Causation Involves Showing That the Health Care Provider’s Negligence Caused Your Injuries

The third D is direct causation.

Proving direct causation requires showing the health care provider’s actions were the direct cause of your injuries. In some cases, proving direct causation is very easy, while it’s far more complicated in other cases. One example of direct causation is when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part.

Damages Are the Financial Losses and Harm You Suffered

The final element to prove in a Virginia medical malpractice claim is damages.

You must be able to show you suffered some financial and physical harm to have a case. Without the ability to show there was some negative impact to you, you don’t have the 4 d’s of negligence to successfully recover damages in a Virginia medical malpractice case.

Damages in a medical malpractice case include physical and emotional harm, additional medical expenses, lost wages, and more. If you have suffered harm due to a medical professional’s actions, you need to contact a Virginia medical malpractice lawyer who can advise you whether you have a valid case to pursue.

Contact Our Richmond Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Don’t try to handle a potential medical malpractice claim on your own. Let an experienced Richmond medical malpractice lawyer represent you. You need a legal advocate who can protect your rights and gather the necessary evidence to prove the four d’s of negligence.

Call (804) 404-7870 or contact Lantz & Robins, P.C. online, today to schedule an initial consultation.

Let us help you fight for the compensation you deserve and hold the negligent health care providers accountable for the harm they caused you.

Author Photo


Mr. Robins is an active member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice, groups that are dedicated to making transportation, healthcare, and workplaces safer for average people. Born and raised in Richmond, Mr. Robins graduated from the University of North Carolina and earned his law degree from the Washington College of Law at American University.