DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Law Firm
Call now for a Free consultation

What is a doctor's duty and why it is important to patients

We have written many posts on the different types of damages an injured patient may seek in a medical malpractice case. However, we have not touched upon the different elements in such cases that lead to successful claims. Before a medical malpractice suit may be commenced, a physician (or hospital staff member) must owe a duty to a patient.

What exactly is a duty? Essentially a doctor must carry an affirmative responsibility to care for a patient before his actions (and competency) may be judged in a medical malpractice case. This comes by a patient either being assigned to doctor or by a patient seeking out a physician for a particular procedure or an examination.

 Keep in mind that this is different from a doctor who sees a stranger in distress in a restaurant. In these situations, a doctor is under no legal duty to act (even though it would be a good and kind gesture to do so). Conversely, once a doctor decides to examine or advise a patient (whether assigned or sought out) a duty attaches.

After a duty attaches, a doctor is charged with using reasonable care in treating his or her patient. This means that the physician must act with the care and diligence of a reasonably competent physician in the same or similar circumstances. For example, a surgeon must act as reasonably skilled surgeon who regularly performs a particular procedure. A general physician may not likely be held to the same standards and skill set.

If you have additional questions about a physician’s duty, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Honors & Accreditations

Free Case Evaluation Form You will receive a prompt response to your evaluation.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy



East Syracuse Office
6739 Myers Road
East Syracuse, NY 13057

East Syracuse Law Office Map

Oneida Office
312 Broad Street
Oneida, NY 13421

Oneida Law Office Map

Watertown Office
119 Sherman Street
Watertown, NY 13601

Watertown Law Office Map

New Hartford Office
23 Oxford Road
New Hartford, NY 13413

New Hartford Law Office Map

Oswego Office
92 W. 6th Street
Oswego, NY 13126

Oswego Law Office Map

Cortland Office
26 Court Street
Cortland, NY 13045

Cortland Law Office Map

Rochester Office
510 Clinton Square
Rochester, NY 14604

Rochester Law Office Map

Phone: 315-479-9000
Fax: 315-479-9300
Back To Top