What Is The Difference Between Medical Malpractice And Medical Negligence

It can be devastating to discover that your doctor or medical provider made a mistake or error that caused you harm. You have faith in your healthcare providers and anticipate that they will provide adequate care. Whether you are seeking medical treatment for a specific condition or are going in for an annual physical, you deserve competent, skilled treatment from your healthcare team.

Medical Negligence vs. Medical Malpractice

These terms have a connection. However, the key distinction between medical negligence and medical malpractice is intent.

Negligence is the failure to exercise the same degree of care that a reasonable individual would have in the same or comparable circumstances. Here, the lack of reasonable care results in injury or damage to a third party. Medical negligence encompasses unintentional errors and mistakes committed by a healthcare provider.

For instance, suppose a physician prescribes the incorrect medication to a patient. He had no intention of harming the patient. However, his error could cause the patient harm or even death.

In contrast, medical malpractice involves a medical provider’s intentional violation of the acceptable standard of care for a particular situation. For instance, a doctor may choose not to order diagnostic tests despite the patient’s symptoms indicating a specific condition that can be confirmed by a test.

Medical malpractice would also include practising under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Another instance of medical malpractice is failing to monitor a patient following surgery. The doctor was aware that the patient was at risk for developing complications, but chose not to monitor the patient.

Proving That a Doctor Committed Medical Malpractice

Not every medical error or instance of medical negligence constitutes medical malpractice. To hold a physician liable for damages, a patient must establish all of the legal elements of a malpractice claim.

The following constitute the legal elements of a medical malpractice case:

  • The doctor had a duty of care toward the patient.
  • The physician violated the duty of care.
  • The harm or injury was an immediate and direct consequence of the breach of the duty of care.
  • The patient suffered damages as a result of the harm, injury, and negligence.

If a patient is not injured or suffers no damages, the physician did not commit medical malpractice. The physician may have been negligent or deliberately disregarded the duty of care. Without harm and damages, however, the incident does not constitute medical malpractice.

The Consequences of Medical Malpractice

When a physician commits medical malpractice, the patient may sustain irreparable harm. A patient may develop a potentially fatal infection or suffer brain damage. Medical malpractice may result in organ failure or permanent disability.

If the evidence supports a conclusion of medical malpractice, the doctor may be held liable for damages.

The following types of damages may be included in a medical malpractice claim:

  • The cost of diagnosing and treating complications, harm, or injuries resulting from medical negligence.
  • Cost of ongoing personal care and medical treatment for impairments or injuries that are permanent.
  • The loss of income, benefits, and earning potential in the future
  • Damages for pain and suffering, including mental trauma, emotional distress, and physical pain
  • Permanent impairments, scarring, disfigurement, and disabilities
  • Psychological injuries, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Loss of life enjoyment and decline in life quality

It can be difficult to determine the value of a medical malpractice claim. Medical experts are frequently required to establish the breach of care and quantify the resulting damages. To calculate the value of future damages, a financial expert may be hired.

Do Not Delay in Taking Action to Protect Your Legal Rights

The New York statute of limitations establishes a filing deadline for medical malpractice lawsuits. The deadline differs from that of other claims for personal injury. In the majority of instances, the deadline to file a medical malpractice claim is two years and six months from the date of the malpractice or the conclusion of the last continuous treatment rendered by the doctor being sued.

Exceptions exist, however, to the statute of limitations. As soon as you suspect your doctor made an error or committed malpractice, it is in your best interest to consult a lawyer. You do not want the doctor’s malpractice to go unpunished due to a missed deadline.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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