The definition of negligence in medico-legal cases is conduct that falls below the standard established by law for protection against unreasonable risk of harm.
Four major elements are required for a negligence action:
1. Duty - that the health care practitioner (HCP) owes a duty of care to the patient.
2. That the applicable standard of carrying out that duty was breached.
3. Causation (the injury arose as a result of that breach of duty).
There are "Good Samaritan statutes" where the standard of care is changed. A HCP has to be guilty of gross negligence to run into problems.
Duty is generally defined by the nature of the professional relationship.
There are different zones of duty for the HCP: