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What Are the 4 Ds of Medical Malpractice?


A medical malpractice lawsuit is complex and can be difficult to prove. Alaska also puts a cap on medical malpractice lawsuits and requires certain proof before awarding compensation for damages.

Medical malpractice happens when a doctor or other medical professional fails to perform their medical duties and harms a patient in the process. In Alaska, a plaintiff must prove what is known as the four Ds of medical malpractice to pursue a lawsuit. Today, we will go over what these are and why they are a crucial aspect to your medical malpractice lawsuit.

How to Prove Medical Malpractice in Alaska

Where do the four Ds come into play? When you need to prove medical malpractice, you must prove what is known as the four Ds. These are as follows: duty, deviation, direct causation, and damages.

Duty of care

First, you must know that not all doctors or medical professionals owe a duty of care to every patient. A doctor-patient relationship must first be established. If a doctor is out in public and someone starts having a heart attack, the doctor can help this individual, but you cannot argue that a doctor-patient agreement was entered into in this situation.

In a doctor-patient relationship, by law, a doctor owes his/her patient a duty of care and treatment with a certain degree of skill, care, and diligence as possessed by or expected of a reasonably competition physician under the same or similar circumstances.

Dereliction or failure to comply with duty of care

Dereliction means the doctor/medical professional failed to meet the duty of care. This is also called a breach of duty.

Direct causation

To prove medical malpractice, the plaintiff will need to show that the doctor/medical professional’s breach of duty of care lead to their injuries or what is called damages.


Finally, the patient must show that they have suffered from this breach of duty of care, either physically, mentally, or both. This can be proven through medical records, medical bills, prescriptions, and witness testimony.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney from our Firm for Help

Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove in court. If you suspect that your injuries were caused by a doctor/medical professional’s malpractice, contact our firm today. Our medical malpractice lawyer at The Law Offices of David Henderson has years of experience competently and compassionately handling medical malpractice cases in Alaska. You can count on us to get you the compensation and care you deserve.

Contact our office online or by calling (888) 295-6566 to schedule a consultation to discuss your medical malpractice case.